MSP Peter Peacock met with Grampian Country Pork Breeding Company manager Derek Lamb at their farm at Hilton of Delnies outside Nairn

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North Pig Farmers need urgent cash support

Peter Peacock, Highlands and Islands regional Labour MSP, is calling for urgent cash support for north pig farmers following a visit to Hilton of Delnies farm on the outskirts of Nairn.

At the visit to the 1,000 pig farm Mr Peacock heard about the combined pressures farmers are facing as a result of foot and mouth, the more than doubling of feed prices in the past year and the sale of cheap foreign cuts of meat by major retailers.

The industry received a further blow last week when support for pig farming was ruled out by secretary for rural affairs Richard Lochhead.

Following the announcement of an emergency package for sheep farmers he was criticised for not only failing to meet the financial needs of sheep and cattle farmers following the disastrous effects of foot and mouth, but for completely failing in any way to recognise the particular needs of the pig sector.

Peter Peacock said, "My colleagues and I have been pressing the Scottish agriculture Minister, Richard Lochhead, to take immediate action to support pig farmers at what is a very, very difficult time for them.

"The need for this action is ever more apparent, as my visit to Hilton of Delnies at Nairn today has confirmed, where experienced pig breeding manager Derek Lamb has been telling me of the danger to the business of pig farming in Scotland."

Peter Peacock will be writing to Richard Lochhead following his visit to again press him on the issue and pointing out the plight of pig farmers in the north and urging immediate action.

"This sector is facing real and serious financial headaches with many people considering leaving the industry.

"The minority SNP government need to urgently re-consider their refusal to support this sector and take action to give necessary short term cash aid, but also to send a signal that a continuing pig sector is important to Scotland.

"The sums being looked for are modest at under 1million and it seems incredible he couldnt have given some help in the small package of compensation he announced last week for the sheep sector," he commented.

Mr Peacock concluded: "Richard Lochhead looked very uncomfortable when he was under pressure in parliament last week I hope pressure from the industry and the NFUS and MSPs will get him to change his mind."

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