New BPEX chair, Meryl Ward (pictured), has pledged to make the most of every opportunity for English pig producers and processors when she takes office at the beginning of next month.
Mrs Ward’s appointment as successor to Stewart Houston was announced on Tuesday by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) of which she also becomes a Board member.
Now, in a follow-on statement, issued by BPEX, she commented: “I am extremely excited by the opportunities for market development, innovation and growth for the industry, and look forward to working with AHDB staff and board members to make this a reality for the pig sector.
“The English pig industry is renowned for its high welfare and environmental standards, and has a committed quality supply chain and customer base.
“AHDB has a central role to play to support and enhance their work, and I intend to make sure that we make the most of every opportunity for English pig producers and processors.”
Mrs Ward and her husband Steve farm more than 2000 acres in North Lincolnshire. The farm is split into two enterprises, the arable farm which has a mixed cropping of potatoes, cereals, sugar-beet and oilseed rape.
The other enterprise is indoor pig farming and the farm has recently invested in anaerobic digesters to utilise farmyard manure and arable crops to produce electricity and heat to power the farm.
There is also Uncle Henry’s Farm shop, opened in September 2006 incorporating a farm shop, café and conference facilities. The shop and café showcase produce from the farm including home reared pork, potatoes and vegetables.
Mrs Ward, who received an MBE for her work on the improvement of pig welfare, was presented with the David Black Award in 2010 in recognition of her “important and sustained contribution to the pig industry”.
She is also a co-founder of the British Pig Industry Support Group, a selector for Nuffield Scholarships, a BPEX Board member and chair of the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network.