Stewart Houston, one of the driving forces behind the formation of the NPA and a former chairman, has been awarded the association’s third Lifetime Fellowship.
Stewart was one of the leading members of the British Pig Industry Support Group (BPISG), first coming to prominence during a stormy meeting at Bishop Burton College, attended by 480 producers, in 1998 at the height of the pig price crisis when many farmers were losing thousands of pounds a week. With the industry represented at the time by the NFU pigs group and the commercial arm of the BPA, Mr Houston made a plea for a united front in responding to a crisis affecting the entire sector.
Following this meeting, BPISG campaigned vigorously to raise awareness of the plight of the industry in the media and to get a better deal from retailers and Government.
Its activities led to the formation of the NPA and, soon after, BPEX, to provide a specialist pig body for levy payers who had become disillusioned with how they were being treated by the Meat and Livestock Commission.
Mr Houston went on to play a major role on the NPA, serving as its chairman and an executive director, as well as chairing BPEX from 2003 until 2015. He served as a director until 2015 and is currently a member of the Food Standards Agency board and the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England since AHWBE. He is also a former David Black Award winner.
He becomes the third person to receive the NPA’s top honour after its first chairman, the late John Godfrey, and Digby Scott, the ‘Voice of the Pig Industry’.
Mr Houston said he was ‘deeply honoured’ to receive the award, presented by NPA chairman Richard Lister at a Producer Group dinner in London on Monday. He said there would be tremendous opportunities for industry as the UK forged its future outside the EU and paid tribute to the people who make the pig industry what it is.
There were also presentations for Mick Sloyan, who steps down from his role as AHDB Pork strategy director in the summer, and former NFU president Meurig Raymond in appreciation for their work with the NPA and services to the industry.
Oxfordshire farmer Charlie Allen, who had been on PG since its inception until he stepped down at the February elections, and Suffolk producer Andrew Houston were recognised for their service on PG.