We have much to be proud of – but I feel we need to do more to shout about it

Wes Udall is the new chair of Young NPA. He works for ForFarmers UK as their young animal feed specialist, re-joining the business in September 2018 having completed a degree in agriculture at Harper Adams University

I am thrilled to have been offered and accepted the role as Young NPA chairman. Firstly, I want to congratulate Jack Bosworth and Jonathan McKechnie on their appointments as vice-chairs.

I really look forward to working together as a team to drive YNPA forward over the coming 12 months.

UK agriculture is perhaps sat at the beginning of one of the most critical and challenging periods it has faced since World War 2.

Brexit is sure to mean that the industry goes through a rigorous examination which will inevitably throw up challenges we’ll have to face. It is not just Brexit, though, that is causing change within agricultural policy – we may have already had a glimpse at what a Labour government would mean for farrowing crates through their animal welfare manifesto.

The current Government views on the labelling of meat from non-stun slaughter abattoirs and the new Agriculture and Environmental Bills waiting to be debated are all key issues, which will affect the UK pig industry.

As the old saying goes, whilst you may need a doctor and dentist once a year, you need a farmer three times a day. We have so much to be proud of, but I often feel we need to do more to shout about this.

Young people are the future of the industry. I want YNPA to be a platform that encourages its members to shape the future of the pig industry by representing their interests and views whatever they may be.

The timely YNPA National, with the theme of ‘Setting Our Own Agenda’ is just one of the occasions that will allow YNPA members to be part of the bigger discussions, helping to steer the industry on key challenges and opportunities.

The year ahead will be about putting YNPA, and the young people in our industry producing quality British Pork on the map.

We cannot afford to stay quiet when facing misinformation and criticism in the press. With the increase in instant, unmanaged and wide-reaching negative stories, YNPA needs to be a positive and influential voice, standing up for the British pig industry and ensuring its sustainability.

I look forward to getting the new YNPA steering group together before the end of the year to start on the agenda I laid out in my interview.

I encourage anyone who has ideas for the YNPA to get in touch with me at [email protected].

It’s important that we work for the good of the whole industry, not just the YNPA.

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