Anglian pig men start losing patience

By Peter Crichton

EAST ANGLIAN members and producers are still reported to be incensed with the way in which the welfare slaughter scheme compensation payments issue has been handled by the NPA.

Leading producers in the region who still have pigs locked up in zones set up as long ago as 8 August voted on 3 October to overturn the latest slaughter payments package promoted by the NPA.

When the slaughter scheme was first launched the opening offer put to the NPA was just 25 for a heavy pig which producers claimed was “half price”.

By 8 September this had been improved to 65 for a 100kg pig, of which central government would contribute 50 and the balance was to be industry funded.

Following this, the NPA put forward a series of weight band-related proposals totalling 15 for pigs up to 40kg, 35 for 40-95kg, 70 for 95-100kg and 75 over 110kg.

For the two lower payments, the industry would have to contribute 5/pig and for the two higher payments 25 with the government contribution capped at 50/pig.

These proposals have still to be ratified but most producers who have sent pigs under the welfare scheme believed that they would be paid at these levels.

Producers soon found that it was very hard to draw pigs out of their overstocked pens to fit the weight bands.

There were many reports of consignments which were a few kilograms short of the lower limit seeing their value drop from 70 to 35.

This concern was addressed by an NPA initiative to propose payments based on a floating formula of 12/head and 50p/kg.

This was described by East Anglian producers as “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” because the new proposal would result in payments for 95kg plus pigs actually dropping by up to 8/head.

If accepted by the government, producers who had already sent pigs for slaughter could suffer a big deduction from their cheques.

To try and address this miscalculation, a series of amendments to the 12 pus 50p/kg scheme were made, with East Anglian producers narrowly voting for 10 plus 60p/kg payments.

But the NPA feeling is that they would have more chance of success with a 12 plus 55p/kg deal.

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