With global headlines full of Brexit, and end of year sales figures showing UK pig prices on the decline, many farmers around the world fully expect UK pig farmers to go head to head in ruthless competition against one another. However, those in the UK are well-aware that this is not what is happening. As reported in early January of 2018, there are several developments that reveal a spirit of cooperation and outside of the box thinking on the part of the UK pig industry.
They include the “farmer to farmer” learning trend that is at the heart of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s Farm Excellence Network. This trend has been noted as a “key and proven method of accelerating productivity growth” in the industry. In an end of year report, “Driving productivity growth together”, everyone in the pig industry is encouraged to use the opportunity within the government’s newly designed industrial strategy to create further partnerships and drive even greater growth.
As reported online, the government’s strategy uses a “five-point action plan, which has increased industry collaboration and partnership to drive lasting change at its core.”
The president of the National Farm Union, Meurig Raymond, is in agreement with that, and in his New Year’s message, he mentions it specifically, saying “the Government has committed to maintain the current level of agricultural funding until 2022 and it has also endorsed the NFU’s vision for the future Domestic Agricultural Policy.”
This “vision” is another advantage the UK pig industry can count on as it incorporates a separate, three prong concept that focuses in on “environment, productivity and volatility” and points to sustainable, profitable and competitive farms as key to UK’s goals of self-sufficiency.
So, what many have viewed as a weakness (Brexit) may actually become an advantage as the farming industry in general is looking for and implementing programs to strengthen from within and grow rather than simply sustain.