Gambling For A Future

UK - With a reputation for militancy UK Pig Farmers are actually gaining public support. Recently, they held a demonstration in London that received a lot of attention, not least with their recording of the song Stand By Your Ham.
calendar icon 4 April 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

The industry has been contracting for the last 10 years and the nub of the problem is that costs for fuel and feed have gone up while prices have not. However, there will be those who argue that, since many pig farmers are also arable farmers who produce the crops that feed the pigs, there is no real problem, says Chris Berry in the Yorkshire Post.

Richard Longthorp, who farms both arable and pigs near Howden, might fit into that category. He farms 2,000 acres of his own, contract farms a further 2,500 acres and days after attending the London demonstration was advertising for a partner to expand his enterprise. So how can an industry bleat about problems and then have farmers announcing expansion plans, ?

Richard says the fact that cereal prices are up should not mean that what he earns on that side of the farm should be wiped out by losses on his pigs.

"Our plight is down primarily to costs, particularly of feed, but costs always rise. This time last year we were making a reasonable return on investment. The pig price was about £1.10/kilo and our cost of production was about £1. Now we find that the pig price is still £1.10 but our production price is £1.40. We are losing 30p/kilo, which equates to about £22 a pig. You don't need to be a mathematician to work out that those figures simply just don't add up."

View the Yorkshire Post story by clicking here.
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