East Anglian pig producer Jimmy Butler, this year’s winner of the Chris Brant Award, is “exactly what the award is all about”, declared the chairman of judges, Richard Longthorp, when the new winner was announced this week.
“Jimmy Butler is always ready to go the extra mile for the industry and has served it with good humour and distinction for many years,” said Mr Longthorp.
Farming with his wife Pauline and two sons, Stuart and Alastair, Mr Butler runs a 2,000-sow herd at St Margaret’s Farm, Mells, Halesworth, Suffolk, producing high-welfare free-range pork for the family’s Blythburgh Free Range Pork brand.
In addition to his farming activities, Mr Butler has an amazing industry track record, having been the driving force behind the British Pig Industry Support Group in East Anglia in 1998 and the man who came up with the idea that pig farmers could use their roadside fields to advertise British pork, an idea that was picked up by NPA for the industry’s successful “Banners Blitz” campaign.
The official award citation is as follows:
Jimmy Butler has always gone the extra mile to promote high-welfare British pig production to consumers, with many television appearances to his credit.
But he doesn’t talk a good game. He practices what he preaches in the way he runs his own business
Some latter day pig industry experts would have us believe that all you need to be successful is efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.
But this man and his family — who have to make their living from their wits, as opposed to academic pontificating — firmly believe that good production systems and efficiency go hand in hand with great marketing and promotion.
He knows it’s no good producing more pigs more efficiently if you can’t sell the pork. And this man sells the pork and lots of it.
The Chris Brant Award is presented annually to someone who goes the extra mile for the British pig industry. The award is named after well-known producer and pig industry activist Chris Brant, who died in July 2009.
Headline image (left to right) shows Jimmy Butler and Richard Longthorp