David Black Award presented to Andrew Knowles

Andrew Knowles has been awarded the prestigious David Black Award. 

The award, the highest the pig industry bestows, is given to a person or organisation whose contribution to the sector has been both valued and sustained.

Former head of communications, knowledge transfer, research and development at the then pig levy board Bpex, Knowles is now ForFarmers marketing director for swine.

The judges felt he deserved the award due to his numerous contributions to the pig industry, including introducing the Two Tonne Sow programme, the British Pig Health Scheme and the Animal Movements Licensing System. Judges said that he “proved himself to be the right man for a difficult job during a troubled period for pig producers and the industry became a better place as a result”.

Knowles was overwhelmed to be awarded the accolade. “I’ve helped organise this event in the past but I never dreamed I’d actually win this award.

“I’m very fortunate to work in an industry which is characterised by its enthusiasm and giving nature. I now sometimes work on the continent and, when I meet producers, they tell me that ‘when there are difficult times, it’s the UK pig industry that has the solution’.”

He urged the industry to “remain agile” and warned against basing biosecurity measures on “myth and perception”.

“Exotic diseases pose a very real challenge to our industry and my plea is for the industry to base its approach on biosecurity on fact and to focus on what truly makes a difference to safeguarding animal health and welfare.”

An award was also presented to butchers RJ Balson and Son for services to sausages. Celebrating its 500th year, Richard Balson, who represents the 26th generation of the family, said it was a “great privilege to receive the award” and that they “serve their public with pride”.

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