Oh dear, not another one!

So the name BPEX is to go. Way back in my youth I was seconded to a prominent London-based advertising agency as part of training in marketing. One of the essentials drummed into me concerned brand names. How important it was to establish a recognised one; how much money to spend on establishing it in any specialised market (in our case pigmeat production); identifying where to spend it; and how to capitalise on it once secured.

I’ve long admired BPEX – what it does and particularly how it does it. Having worked in more than 30 pig industries across the world so far – including the pig-powerful ones of the USA, Germany and Denmark – apart from Denmark and the Prairie Research Centre in Canada, no country, pig-powerful or not, has such excellent educational, down-to-earth helpful literature, clearly stated right up-to-the minute technical advice and pleasant sharp-end people to put it across.

Now this well-earned brand name is to be chucked in the trash can. Daft decision. Makes me wonder if any of the decision-makers have any training in marketing?

Sadly, we British have a history of short-sighted, silly decisions. Silly because they were so damaging to progress. Take the valuable focus point of the Pig Demonstration Unit (PDU) at Stoneleigh. Practically run by several managers, culminating in Bernie Peet who, after it was shut down for the want of a few pennies, went over to Canada to spread sound advice and gain a worldwide reputation.

Situated centrally, the PDU was a place where any stockperson, manager or owner could go-see and discuss new developments and equipment getting impartial advice on what seems to work best – and what didn’t, which was just as valuable.

Right next to them, the Farm Electric Centre was also shut down – right at the start of the energy price rocketing, too. What good money-saving advice came from that organisation! For example, its illustrated brochure on powered ventilation practice (Bettany and Hughes, Controlled Environments for Livestock) written in clear farming language is unsurpassed anywhere in the world and praise be, is still available on Amazon Books for a shade over £20 – if you’re quick!

Two very sound farm housing centres at Craibstone, Aberdeen, and Wrest Park, Bedford, were both prematurely closed down years ago. Our recent/historic poor physical performance compared to other pig industries, arguably due to our lack of uprated building investment, could have been arrested if these centres were in existence once our national housing costs soared in tandem with those two profit crises. Both sources had so much good sense to offer in energy cost-saving and the best use of capital investment.

“He whom the Gods wish to destroy – he first makes mad” – Ovid.

Please, don’t start tinkering with BPEX. Not only is this particular engine not bust, or even coughing. It’s running well and smoothly.

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About The Author

John Gadd, who has spent 60 years' involvement in pig production, has had more than 2,800 articles about pigs published and has written three best-selling pig textbooks. With hands-on experience that includes managing a grow-out herd at 1,800ft in Banffshire, Scotland, and 20 years in the allied industries with Boots' Farm Department, RHM Agriculture and Taymix, he set up his own international pig management consultancy in the mid 1980s and has now visited more than 3,000 pig units in 33 countries as a pig management adviser. (Photo courtesy Bournemouth Daily Echo)