The NPA’s triennial hunt for producers and members of the allied industries to stand for election to the association’s Producer Group and Allied Industry Group is now underway, with nominations now open for willing cadidates.
“It’s vital that we have candidates from all the different regions,” the NPA’s Lizzie Press said. “It ensures our policies are robust and wholly representative.
“And we need a really diverse membership; indoor and outdoor, corporate and family, male and female.”
The NPA’s Producer Group is the policy-making powerhouse of the English pig industry. It meets four times a year, and the meetings – which are never dull – are held in London, either at the Farmers’ Club or at the nearby Mothers’ Union headquarters.
Meetings are usually from 10.30am to 3.00pm. It’s necessary to read some paperwork beforehand, and to take soundings from local producers, particularly on contentious issues. Lunch is included, and Producer Group members are paid travelling expenses to attend.
As usual, the NPA’s “Election Czars” have been appointed to promote the elections and they will be on the lookout for likely candidates.
“If you’re even vaguely interested and would like to know more, please contact anyone at the NPA or any member of the current Producer Group,” Ms Press added.
There are 12 elected members on the Producer Group, from five regions: North, Midlands, East, South Central and South West. In the past, guaranteed places have been allocated according to the pig density in each region. Thus, the North and East were allocated three guaranteed seats each, while the Midlands, South Central and South West had at least one each.
“This rule has been changed,” Ms Press said, “and this time each region will have only one guaranteed place on the Producer Group, and a maximum of four places.”
The new rules will ensure that each region is represented, that no region is over-represented and that producers have the opportunity to vote not only for local candidates, but also for candidates who’ll best represent their production system.
Also going to the polls will be the NPA’s Allied Industry Group, which has 10 elected members. The same timetable (see below) will apply.
Unlike the Producer Group, there are no rules governing regional representation, the goal being to achieve representation from all the key areas of allied industry activity – nutrition, health, marketing, genetics and so on.
- October 6, 2014 – Nominations open
- January 9, 2015 – Nominations close
- January 30, 2015 – Online voting begins via the NPA website
- February 2015 – Candidate details published in Pig World
- February 9, 2015 – Ballot papers issued to members who have not voted online
- February 23, 2015 – Voting closes at noon
- March 2015 – Results published in Pig World
Stand and support your industry
According to current NPA chairman Richard Longthorp, who’ll once again be on the ballot for the association’s Producer Group, there’s one very good reason why members should put themselves forward for election.
“It comes down to this,” he said, “do you want to shape policy, or sit back while policy is imposed that will shape you?
“We’re not looking for politicians, we need producers with business experience that allows them to pick up the issues of the day, bring them to the board and debate them.
“I believe that getting involved not only means you’re doing your bit for the industry, but you become a more accomplished person through it.”
And while Mr Longthorp added that he’d never recommend someone get involved for purely selfish reasons, he admitted there were benefits to being at the centre of the sector.
“You become part of a network and get to know what’s happening in the industry,” he said. “You’re among the first to find out about looming legislation and even new research, and all that can be useful in running your own business.”