The National Pig Association’s (NPA) producer group has voiced its full support for Ladies in Pigs, as the future of the organisation remains shrouded in doubt.
LIPs, winner of the 2014 David Black Award, has done a tremendous job over the years, connecting directly with consumers to promote the merits of Red Tractor assured British pork. LIPs currently attends more than 60 events a, with the help of their fully-branded mobile kitchen, ‘Rosie’. They have also extended their promotional campaigns to schools and colleges.
But the organisation, which was founded in 1991 and, today, has around 250 members nationwide, currently faces multiple challenges.
Sue Woodall, its chair for the past decade (pictured, centre), is standing down in March, leaving very big boots to fill. LIPs is currently advertising for a replacement, with a view to potentially hiring someone with a new set of skills to embrace the modern multi-media age.
The lease on its mobile kitchen is due to run out at the end of next year, presenting possible additional extra costs of it is to be replaced. LIPs, sponsored mainly by AHDB Pork and allied industry companies, also faces the ongoing challenge of convincing AHDB it represents value for money for levy payers.
At a crossroads
Speaking at the latest PG meeting in London, longstanding member of LIPs Jane Drewe said finding a new chairman to replace Sue would not be straightforward. “We have to think of every single scenario if we don’t find a suitable candidate. Sue is a very difficult act to follow,” she said.
LIPs is also looking for new members. “We are pretty much at the top of our game at the moment but we have had very frank discussion about the possibility of finishing. Of our 250 members, 42 worked this year and, of those, nearly half are over 60. We need the manpower. We are at a crossroads.”
She asked for the views of PG and received a very positive response. Oxfordshire member Charlie Allen said he understood the need for LIPs to secure a new leader, but added: “We all value it so much and would very much like it to continue.”
PG chairman Phil Stephenson said: “I think the view of everybody is that Ladies in Pigs is a very important organisation, a showcase for the industry, and it would be very, very sad if we lost it. We are very supportive but, of course, it depends on whether you can get a new chair to drive it forward.”
AHDB chairman Mike Sheldon said LIPs had always made a good case in the past about representing value for money for levy payers. But he said, like all potential recipients of levy funds, it was competing against lots of other ‘very worthy causes’.