Pig producers urged to have a say on new animal health and welfare grants

Pig producers have an opportunity to shape what new Animal Health and Welfare Grants planned for late 2022 should cover.

These grants, provided under the Pig Health and Welfare Pathway, will fund upfront investments in equipment, technology and infrastructure to support health and welfare improvements.

They will be based on the priorities set out for the Pathway, which include tackling PRRS, reducing sow confinement and reducing stressors to keep tails intact. Defra said the grants would enable farmers to provide a higher level of health and welfare, over the statutory baseline.

There would be two types of grants:

  • From £50 to around £10,000 for lower-cost equipment and technology items, such as slat gap covers and ammonia sensors
  • Over £10,000 for larger, bespoke infrastructure investments, such as new buildings, improvements to existing buildings and modifications to farrowing pens.

Farmers will have the opportunity to influence the items that are included within the equipment and technology grants list.

Defra said it wanted to ensure it offers grants suitable for all types of farmers and covering the latest innovations.

For the small grants, it has asked for three items to be suggested for each priority, with information on the product, including cost, where you can buy it and how it will improve welfare.

For the bigger grants, it wants to see whether farmers want brand new builds, improvements to existing ones, or pasture improvements. There is also an option for large scale innovation or automation, and an ‘other’ category.

The survey also asks more detailed questions about how the infrastructure investment would improve the health and welfare of your animals in line with the priorities, plus any barriers to the investments, such as planning permission, tenancy agreements or finance.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies stressed that this was a good opportunity to get useful items included into the grant schemes and help producers, and encouraged everyone to have a think about what might be included.

NPA will be providing a full list for members so they can add items that are missing.

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.