Award Winning Fresh Start Academy wants new entrants to boost supply of fresh British pork

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Following the huge success and popularity of 2011 and 2012’s specialist Fresh Start Pig Academies which launched in Lincolnshire and Shropshire respectfully, plans are well advanced to launch a third specialist Academy, this time in Northamptonshire.  The chief aim of the Academy, which won an accolade for its commitment to training at the Pig and Poultry Marketing Awards in 2012, is to encourage more farmers and potential new entrants to start up in pig production as demand for quality British fresh pork continues to grow.

The third Academy will be based at Moulton College and will open its doors on February 19th 2013 with a taster launch evening. The Academy will meet on a fortnightly basis for three sessions to give budding pig producers a very clear view of the potential of a start-up in the industry.

Crucially, those who stay the course and decide that they want to set up a pig unit will have immediate access to a market for their output, and the support of mentors to help them become established.

Northamptonshire has been chosen for the project because it offers a number of natural and commercial advantages such as a good supply of straw, arable land for receiving muck and many forward thinking farmers.

The challenge for the Fresh Start Pig Academy organisers is to attract a suitable number of candidates.

One of the instigators of the project is BQP Supply Chain Fields Person, Sophie Hope.

“We have unsatisfied demand with our main customer, Waitrose, who are urging us to get out and sell the industry to potential entrants. We believe our particular supply chain offer is both attractive and sustainable. It may even include support for putting up new buildings, and as these would be steel-framed they represent a good general investment on an owned or tenanted farm.

“However, the Academy will enable potential new entrants to gather information on what is involved in setting up in pig production.  Key elements of the programme will be a farm visit but we will also deal, through specialist speakers, with everything from business planning and finance to animal health; planning permission to production efficiency; and animal husbandry to environmental responsibilities.

“Of course we can’t deal with everything involved in pigs in such a short period but we believe we can address the key issues in such a way that a potential entrant is better equipped to make a judgment on such a key business decision” said Miss Hope.

Denis Chamberlain, Chairman of the National Fresh Start Stakeholder Group welcomed the initiative.

“Fresh Start has many general academies running around the country, encouraging entrepreneurs to see the opportunities of starting up in agriculture. This third Pig Academy is an excellent project, encouraging new entrants to assess an area where there is the potential to develop businesses in a sector where demand is currently very strong and viable business models are there to be exploited,” said Mr. Chamberlain.

The Academy will launch on Tuesday February 19th 2013. For more information please visit Fresh Start Pig Academy. Anyone interested in joining should contact Academy Coordinator, Sophie Hope either by email (sophie.hope@dalehead.co.uk) or by calling 07773 319723.