Fred'll fix it

Q I am interested in furthering my career in the pig industry and have a couple of years' experience with one firm, but no qualifications. What can I do? DC

A You may be in luck. BPEX has just announced its first Management Development Programme. The scheme, which starts in January 2010, will run over 12 months and provide the participants with the opportunity to develop their management potential and overall understanding of pig production.

Completing the course will involve attending a number of training sessions over the course of a year. Each session will consist of an evening presentation, focusing on a particular sector of the industry, followed by a day of management training. There will also be work-based projects. Successful completion of the course will result in a nationally recognised qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Your background and qualifications will not be the focus of selection; it is your potential and ambition that are key. BPEX will cover most costs, except transport and any time off work. Contact Tess Howe at BPEX. For practical training in handling pigs there are also Certificates of Competence available. Again further information is available from BPEX.


Q What is EID? I've heard it mentioned a few times now. JW

A EID is shorthand for Electronic Identification. It is being talked about because of new EU regulations that will be introduced at the end of the year. All lambs born after 31 December 2009 will have to be tagged with two identifiers - one of which must be electronic - before they are moved off the farm. It is a very controversial move and is opposed by many in the sheep sector, who believe it will be time-consuming and very expensive. It is also claimed the electronic tags fail in wet conditions and it is predicted that a large proportion of sheep producers will leave the sector because of this regulation. A lot of work is going on behind the scenes to get the proposal stopped or for some sort of derogation to be introduced to lessen the impact on the UK industry.


Q We sell all sorts of products in our shop as well as meat. Our regular honey supplier says the price is likely to go up next year - on top of an increase this year. Is this justified? BS

A Sadly, it may be, especially on the west side of Britain where the industry has been particularly badly hit by the double-whammy of bee disease and very poor summer weather. The Varroa Mite did a lot of damage earlier this year with up to 95% of honey bee hives becoming infected. Sadly, the very wet weather that has particularly affected the west side of the country has prevented bees from foraging. Bee colonies have either been starving or are very short of food.


Q Is there a site or link where one can find butchers of long standing in Fulham, London and nearby? My own family (Twitchin) were butchers for over 200 years, starting in Soho, then to Brixton, Stockwell Green and Fulham and it is fascinating to find members of that family who fought at Trafalgar and two brothers and a cattle-dealing brother-in-law who left for US in 1852 and started their own butcher's shop in Manhattan. JT

A Tracing family history has always been a popular pastime and a huge amount of information is now available through various websites. But you will have to pay a range of fees to access much of it. Start with, where you can search census records back to 1841. You could also do a search online for Kelly's Directories, which lists a huge number of businesses by area.

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