The NPA will elect a new chairman in March, after Richard Lister, who has held the post for the past six years, announced he would not be seeking re-election to the association’s Pig Industry Group.
Former NPA chairman Richard Longthorp’s name is also missing from the list of election candidates announced on Tuesday.
With 31 candidates, including a mix of experienced PIG members and plenty of new blood, putting themselves forward for election, the two NPA veterans both welcomed the quality of the field that will be standing in their absence.
You can see the full list of candidates HERE. Voting begins on January 25.
Mr Lister, who keeps pigs in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, has been on Producer Group since 2003 and was elected as NPA chairman in 2015. He said it had been a ‘pleasure and honour’ to have held the role for six years.
“It gives me great pleasure to see such a strong field of candidates for the forthcoming elections, and I wish all the candidates the best of luck come voting day,” said Mr Lister, who won the David Black Award in 2019 in recognition of his work in developing new pig sector antibiotic targets, and the Chris Brant Award in 2016.
“As you may have noticed, after 18 years representing my fellow pig producers, my name is not among those seeking election to the new PIG group. It only seems like yesterday when I joined Producer Group, although the photos tell a different story.
“It has been my great pleasure and honour to be chairman of the National Pig Association for the last six years.
“Whilst the pig industry can be a maelstrom of emotions and challenges , it has been the sense of being part of a great and supportive team at the NPA that has made the role an enjoyable one.
“Whilst I am standing down, I do intend to be available to help wherever and whenever it may be required .
“I would like to thank the NPA staff and in particular Zoe , for making the role manageable alongside the day job of my own business . I would also like to thank all the producer group representatives, and Board members for their wisdom, support and most of all their humour.
“Finally, and just as importantly, those people in my own business who have enabled me to carry out the role of Chairman.”
Fellow Yorkshire farmer, Richard Longthorp, a major campaigning figure behind the formation of the NPA at the time of the industry’s greatest crisis in the late-1990s, first became chairman of the organisation in ‘about 2002’.
He then had a second go, replacing Stewart Houston, before Richard Lister took over – in his own words, ‘the only person mad enough to do the job once then come back for more!’
He has spent many years on the NPA’s Producer Group, latterly the PIG, and recently served a spell as NPA vice chairman.
A former winner of the David Black and Chris Brant Awards, he was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to the farming industry. In 2019, at the NPA’s 20th anniversary celebration, he was awarded an NPA Lifetime Fellowship (main picture, with Richard Lister and NPA chief executive Zoe Davies).
“First of all let me say that I fervently believe that NPA is as relevant and necessary today as it has ever been,” Mr Longthorp said.
“So why am I stepping down? Two reasons really – but one far more important than the other.
“To be totally open about it, having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years back and the inevitable compromises it brings, whether or not to stand in these elections was probably always going to be in question.
“But, and far more importantly, when I started to see the outstanding candidates putting their heads above the parapet, the choice was easy – a real no brainer. Whoever gets elected, NPA will have as good as representation as ever – maybe better!
“I have always thought that one of the most important KPIs for any business or organisation is Successful Succession (with continual improvement) – easy to say but not always so easy to accomplish. NPA has achieved that.
“With an executive so ably led by Zoe and with a PIG combining experience, youth and fresh thinking, I have absolutely no doubt that NPA will thrive and give producers and allied industries the voice and support they need.
“Finally, I have to say what an absolute delight it has been to see over the past few years how Zoe has developed into such an effective chief exec and built such a fantastic team around her. Look after your chief exec and she will look after you.”
A number of current members of PIG are stepping down. They also include producer representatives Simon Guise and Vicky Morgan and allied industry representatives Paul Toplis, Lydia Harrison, Simon Davies and Jen Waters.
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies thanked all the current PIG members who are stepping down for their time and efforts, particularly the ‘two Richards’, who she said had both made a ‘massive contribution’ to the success of the NPA and to the wider pig sector.
She said: “I’ve told them both that I’m not letting them off that lightly and will continue to seek their advice and guidance in future, but no-one could argue that they haven’t gone above and beyond their duty in serving the pig industry and it is time for someone else to take the strain.
“I am in no doubt that we will have a strong and effective NPA PIG group following the elections, looking at the exceptional quality of the candidates that have put themselves forward.
“I wish them all the very best and ask that all NPA members give them the recognition they deserve by utilising your vote!”