Who and Why – The British Pig Association

We’ve all got pigs and I am not naive to think that there is purely just #OSBPig owners on this Group (i know who you are). Many of you have mentioned on the Group and to me personally that you do not see the advantages of being apart of the @British Pig Association BPA and reasons have been varied from “I’m only rearing for meat”, “I’ve looked into it and it is expensive”, “I won’t get any benefits out of it” and the most common question I am asked even after 10 years of running this Group is…”Who are the British Pig Association” Now this does not just come from #OSBPig wanna be keepers/breeders but from other wanna-be keepers of different breeds of pigs.

Photo Courtesy of Amanda Packford-Garrett

In an ideal world, I would like to think that ALL pedigree breeders who sell on breeding stock will tell the new owners about the BPA and encourage them to join and to advise them of their British Pig Association Breed representative (details are given at bottom of this post). If information is not given, these new breeders who have purchased registered breeding stock just end up as a number in the BPA register and the future production of their sows/gilts and the breeder’s future generation breeding line just lies dormant.

“So I have joined the BPA and the pigs are transferred in my name. Now what?” You can and will be able to have all births that come from your sow/gilt to be logged and entered into and on the British Pig Association register (which is done via the owners on line). By doing this it is showing that the bloodline of the sow that has farrowed and the boar that has sired this progeny is active, this is sustaining the bloodline and is helping the conservation of your breed and bloodline and also showing your geographical location of bloodlines and pedigree. Yippee!

“Yes, but that is great but I only want them for meat and my client base aren’t bothered about registered stock”

I get it, and who’s client base wouldn’t care especially if you don’t tell them. But hang on… In an age now when EVERYONE is pushing, “locally sourced”, “field to fork”, “pen to plate”, “low mileage”, “outdoor reared” and “pedigree” there IS a market, and the market is growing. But it is also about being honest, proving who you are, valuing what you do and showing what you do and how you do things through your produce and premises.

HOW? You promote the many ways in showing that your pigs are local, they see your pigs walking around outside, foraging and rootling that is self-evident to your customers/clients who come to see you. Then if you are a butcher or farm shop and mention that your pork is ”locally sourced” that is also evident as you will place the name of your supplier on your packaging or be kind enough to place some of their advertising material in or around your premises and when you mention that your pork comes from pedigree pigs and is, therefore, pedigree pork and you, therefore, say they are “Pedigree”…Then…, WOW that is a whole different platform. Being and saying “Pedigree” shouts out that your pigs have come from registered stock. You have proof of parentage. By default, you have traceability of the sire and dam of these PEDIGREE MEAT PIGS. You can log on to your BPA register and download your BPA Meat certificates to take to the establishments where your pork is being sold or place in your meat boxes. This is proving you as a breeder, showing the birth of the pigs, age, dob, bloodline, sire and dam and where they were raised. You can sing from the rooftops and you can command a higher price for your pork and all your other pork produce! Don’t forget to join the BPA Pedigree Pork Scheme to add that extra provenance! Further information can be found here

Photo Courtesy of Michelle Anderson-Carroll

Make sure you tell your clients/customers/friends and family how proud you are of your produce and how they are lovingly reared and bred. They will go on to tell others bringing future sales for you and your Pedigree Pork and Pedigree stock. You will soon get them asking “What do you mean pedigree”. This is your window of opportunity to inspire, enthuse and educate your clients/customers/friends and family as if they do not know what you do and how you do it they will not value you and your pedigree rare/traditional/heritage breed. If you don’t care then how can you expect them to?

The British Pig Association dates back to 1884 when it was known as The National Pig Breeders Association and its founder was Sanders Spencer who incidentally wrote a book (which we covered in a recent post last month) “The Pig: Breeding, Rearing and Marketing”, published in 1919, “the pig is really a machine for the conversion of farm produce into meat, and like all machines, its output will depend entirely on the quantity and quality of the raw material and the manner in which it is supplied”. This is a very straight forward point of view of pigs. The pig was simply a means to an end. Its purpose was to manufacture pork (or bacon). It had no “personality” or distinctive character. This view was most popular with the expansion of large-scale commercial pig farming from the end of the nineteenth century. This led Spencer to realise that there must be some organisation with regards to our pigs and breeds and detailing their individual qualities.

Your breed representatives (Their contact details can be found on the @British Pig Association website here)

Berkshire Pigs – Sharon Barnfield & Chris Impey (also chair BPA Breed Development and Conservation Committee

British Saddlebacks – Mr I Carter
Duroc – Jan Walton
Gloucestershire Old Spots – Judith Sims & Mike Smith
Hampshire – No Breed Representative listed
Landrace – Nigel Overend
Large Black – Sally Lugg & Steve Richardson (also Chair BPA Show Committee & Deputy Chair Council)
Large White – Richard Emerson & Steve Loveless
Middle White – Tracy Bretherton
Mangalitza – Lisa Hodgson
Oxford Sandy and Black – David Aldous & Jane Mathews (also Chair BPA)
Pietrain – Gavin Pawson
Tamworths – Ryan Perry
Welsh – Geoff Bemand

Regional Representatives
Anglia – Chris Hudson
South – Michaela Giles & Maria Naylor
South West – Angela Andrews
Northern Ireland – Nigel Overend & Brian Kelly (Chair BPA Pedigree Pork and Education Committee & Deputy Chair BPA Council)
Wales – Jane Mathews (OSB Breed Representative & Chair BPA)

You will notice that the Kune Kune and the British Lop are NOT members of the BPA as they retain their own herdbooks.

British Kunekune Pig Society website can be visited here
British Lop Pig Society website can be visited here

Post was written by Kim Brook

Leave a Reply