Challenges facing pork sector Q&A
We are working with industry and the Government to address the challenges facing the pork sector. Below we have provided answers to some of the questions we are receiving about how we are supporting pig farmers during these challenging times.
What is AHDB doing to support pork producers?
AHDB is undertaking a great deal of work to help the sector through these particularly challenging times. This includes providing independent evidence to the Government setting out the seriousness of the situation and looking at how together we can support meat processors to ease the supply of labour.
We announced a one-month levy holiday during November 2021. We know this won’t solve the problems, but in the medium term could help reduce some of the financial burdens faced by levy-payers.
The Pork Board has also agreed to fund a dedicated off-farm cull and render service as a backstop for producers who are struggling with a backlog of pigs on-farm.
Is AHDB sitting on large amounts of reserves from pork levy payers that could simply be handed over?
AHDB does carry reserves within its accounts, and those reserves are allocated to meet its contractual and legal obligations into the future. This means that these reserves are not unallocated cash looking for a home. However, it is correct that current pork reserves are higher than strictly needed, thanks to reduced activity during the pandemic, and this is the source of money to fund the levy holiday.
Why can’t the levy holiday be targeted at those most in need?
AHDB is obliged to treat all levy-payers even-handedly, and so the levy holiday cannot be applied selectively.
Will the levy holiday be extended?
There are no current plans to extend the levy holiday. However, AHDB is always open to new ideas and is always considering additional action.
Why can’t the SPP be varied to take account of the current situation?
The SPP was developed in consultation with the industry and introduced in 2014 – it’s method of calculation has remained consistent since then. AHDB has no influence over the SPP as the calculations come from a voluntary survey of pig abattoirs which provide their weekly kill data including weight, probe, sex and price.
To unilaterally change the method of calculation or omit pigs would undermine the integrity of the price and could be seen as attempting to manipulate the market – in breach of UK competition laws.
Consistency of this method is the bedrock of a price reference and is there to protect all those who seek to use it.
Support for farmers
From money matters to mental health, help is at hand.
When faced with challenges, it’s reassuring to know that there are a number of resources you can access and charities that you can lean on. Their practical advice, guidance and support continue to make a huge difference to many in the farming community.