Open House?

Writing in the Weekly Tribune I have, previously, questioned the continuation of the statutory levy, and the prosecution of its purpose. The news that AHDB-Pork are holding ‘Open House for Pig Meetings’ by inviting all levy payers and pig industry stakeholders to the regional forum meetings, is interesting. The prescience of history and human nature casts a long shadow over such an initiative. The collective will of the industry must be coherent and strong. AHDB Pork are declaring open house on the following:

  • To discuss how best to go about improving key performance indicators for closing the physical pig performance gap in the region

  • To get feedback on AHDB Pork knowledge transfer activity and collect new ideas

  • To achieve better coordination within the regions and work more effectively with other businesses to avoid duplication.

I am not convinced this is enough of a fundamental levy payer concern in relation to AHDB activity to attract hardworking pig farmers. I sincerely hope that I am wrong considering the level of statutory monies spent on R&D by BPEX and now AHDB-Pork.

In answer to first point in the list the answer is a simple one; look at the evidence contained in the pig records upon which AHDB Market Intelligence currently base their quarterly physical performance update, from this produce an objective standard of production control guidelines and believe in them. There must be a confluence of young and old involved in pig production, at every point in this process.

In answer to the second point, the feedback is clear. The ratio of media activity to actual producer participation is a starting point. New ideas are a daily occurrence in life and are difficult to assimilate amidst the challenges of every working day. By all means collect new ideas but before you show us your collection make sure that you have thoroughly researched each one and can present a relevant and cost effective addition to the knowledge bank of the individual producer. And please stop the incessant stream of repeated tweets and answer the questions posed on your blog posts.

The third point is a minefield that needs clearing. Allied industry people working in their respective fields have to earn a living for themselves if they are self-employed, or the companies they work for. A proper understanding of the implications of some of the services AHDB offer needs to be established in relation to the daily activities of allied industry people. This is simply to prevent duplication of services where a reasonable, one-off, intervention from AHDB-Pork can disrupt longer-term objectives that have been established between a supplier of service, and a producer, or business.

The moral tradition from which human need developed our agricultural tradition must now be the bedrock of our courage as an industry in confronting preservation and sustainability through intelligent and responsible structure. Young and old have much that is of value to bring to this from varied experience of a widening range of opportunity in the technological age. This is an opportunity for all, to be taken with such courage. As a first stage nothing less than a complete deconstruction of the status-quo is acceptable if we are to understand together the challenges we face. Reading the announcement, which I welcome as far as it goes, the open house doesn’t appear to be that open. I hope this is the beginning, not just another missed opportunity.


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