Lincolnshire pig farmer Meryl Ward has been chosen as an Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) board member and chairman of the British Pig Executive (BPEX). Ward is replacing Stewart Houston, who has stepped down.
The position is a U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ministerial appointment.
Ward and her husband Steve farm more than 2,000 acres in North Lincolnshire. The farm is split into two enterprises, the arable farm which has a mixed cropping of potatoes, cereals, sugar-beet and oilseed rape. The other enterprise is indoor pig farming and the farm has recently invested in anaerobic digesters to utilize farmyard manure and arable crops to produce electricity and heat to power the farm.
They also operate Uncle Henry’s Farm shop, opened in September 2006 incorporating a farm shop, café and conference facilities. The shop and café showcase produce from the farm including home reared pork, potatoes and vegetables.
Ward was awarded an MBE for the improvement of pig welfare and was for many years a member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council (now committee) chairing the major report ‘Farm Animal Welfare: Health and Disease’.
In 2010 she was presented with the David Black Award, the highest honor the industry can bestow, for her ‘important and sustained contribution to the pig industry’.
Ward was a co-founder of the British Pig Industry Support Group, a selector for Nuffield Scholarships and a BPEX board member. She currently chairs the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network
Speaking about her appointment, she said: “I am extremely excited by the opportunities for market development, innovation and growth for the industry, and look forward to working with AHDB staff and board members to make this a reality for the pig sector.
“The English pig industry is renowned for its high welfare and environmental standards, and has a committed quality supply chain and customer base. AHDB has a central role to play to support and enhance their work, and I intend to make sure that we make the most of every opportunity for English pig producers and processors.”
BPEX is the organization for pig levy payers in England and is a division of AHDB.