Christmas Q&A special – National Pig Association chief executive, Dr Zoe Davies

Zoe’s answers range from a view on the Russian ban to a comment on the national pig awards. She also manages a bit of “electioneering”.

Q1 – What was your pig sector highlight/lowpoint of 2014?

“My high point was being made chief executive of the NPA and knowing that the Board and Producer Group had faith in my ability to look after the NPA and its members. Of course, it’s impossible to do that without such a fantastic team supporting me!

“I think my low point was when Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza hit a duck farm in November. Although not a pig disease, many pig units were caught up in the chaos that ensued and really made me realise that all the work we have been doing over the years with Defra and APHA could be scuppered because they have had such severe staff cuts and really don’t have the resource to deal with any size of disease outbreak. On the positive side though, it’s given us food for thought about how we can protect against that the next time!” 

Q2 – What do you most hope will be achieved by UK pig producers in 2015?

“To stay in business! It’s going to be another tough year unless Russia opens up her borders again, so I’d like to see people locked into secure contracts where they can still make a profit, constantly driving efficiency in the business and still managing to get some decent sleep at night!”

Q3 – What one pig industry experience did you enjoy most in 2015?

“Now this is a difficult one and a choice between the Pig and Poultry fair, which I love because it gives us the opportunity to catch up with our members, and the inaugural National Pig Awards which was a superb night celebrating all that is good about the UK pig industry. It’s about time we stood up and applauded ourselves for the great industry that we are rather than hiding behind the walls trying to avoid the next attack!”

Q4 – Free pig sector comment – something you feel strongly about.

“Obviously I will use this opportunity to encourage people to vote in our elections! We’ve had some excellent candidates willing to put themselves forward to help guide the NPA going forwards and it would be really good if NPA members all took the time to look at their manifestos and voted! 

“Also, and I know we have banged on about biosecurity all year, for good reason! I do understand that it is a bit of a dry topic. It’s just that I can see what could potentially arrive here and the impact that it will have so it is worth it, even if it makes people think for a while how they can improve things on their own farms and what might happen should they be caught in a movement restriction zone.”

Today’s tasty photo is from Waitrose, whose current Porkwatch rating shows the supermarket stocking 100% British pork and bacon, 99% British ham and 96% British sausages. 

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