26 October 1998
Pig farmers’ fury at award to Malton
PIG farmers are angry at a decision to award the industrys top prize to a bacon processor who has cut farmers prices three times this year.
Members of the National Farmers Union said that presenting the David Black Award for outstanding service to Max Hilliard, managing director of Malton Foods of North Yorkshire, was “like giving Saddam Hussein the Nobel peace prize”.
Mr Hilliards firm is a subsidiary of Unigate and buys about a third of the pigs processed for meat in the UK.
But last week the company slashed the price paid to farmers from 70p/kg to 63p/kg.
The latest reduction and earlier price cuts have helped to reduce the national average price paid to farmers from £84 a pig to £50.40.
Farmers were getting more than £1.05/kg a year ago and producers claim they need at least £65.60 per pig to break even.
Malton Foods has an annual turnover of £700 million and runs 13 processing plants.
Mr Hilliard has won a reputation for transforming efficiency in the industry and helping Britain to compete against imported meat.
He blamed the problems of pig producers on international economic problems and over-production.
- The Daily Telegraph 26/10/98 page 8