The announcement was made by Prince Charles at the Great Yorkshire Show to mark National Countryside Week (11 - 18 July). Six grants totalling nearly £200,000 have been awarded by the Prince’s Countryside Fund to support British farmers and rural communities in a varitey of schemes.
The two-year Hampshire Hog project has been set up by county food group Hampshire Fare, to encourage farmers to diversify into cured meats. The money will be used to unite specialist pig producers and cover the initial training and marketing costs, with products sold at local events, and through shops and restaurants.
Hampshire Fare chairman Mike Wright said: “Many of our livestock farmers have long hoped to diversify into cured meats, but say that the cost of training, uncertainty of environmental health requirements and lack of time to investigate the possibilities have proved prohibitive. By uniting our producers and covering their initial training and marketing costs with this grant, we hope to give a real boost to a community in need”.
Hampshire Fare free-range pig farmer, Martin Martindale of Greenfield Pork, said: “We have been involved in the pig industry for some thirty years and during this time we have constantly had to adapt to changing customer demands and the economic climate through diversification into butchery, hog roasting, sausage-making and bacon production.
“We now face new economic challenges, particularly in view of the increase in pig feed prices in the last twelve months. Hampshire Fare’s project and the grant from the Price’s Countryside Fund is great news for specialist pig producers across the county.”
The project will start in August 2011.
Since the launch of the Prince’s Countryside Fund last July, nearly £500,000 has been given to projects across the country to increase the viability of rural communities. The Fund aims to encourage sustainability of British farming, reconnect consumers with countryside issues and support farm crisis charities. Corporate sponsors include Waitrose, Ginsters, Marks & Spencer, Asda, Booths, McDonalds and Duchy originals.