We are pleased to announce two out of the three finalists for the Pig Farmer of the Year award are BQP farmers. Pig Farmer of the Year is one of many awards which are presented during the Farmers Weekly Awards 2021 which will take place this October in London.

The two BQP finalists are Ryan Dyer from Hall Farm, Norfolk and Richard Mellor from Grange Farm, Norfolk who are both hoping to be crowned 2021 winner. Pig Farmer of the Year is a tough category which requires pig producers to meet high standards. This includes high levels of output, top technical performance, commitment to staff management and a drive to improve production and welfare.

Andrew Saunders, Agriculture Director, was thrilled to hear the good news and said: “I’m exceptionally proud that not one but two BQP farmers has been acknowledged. To be nominated is a recognition that our farmers operate within standards and practices which are amongst the best in the industry. Both Ryan and Richard are well respected within the pig farming community so it was no surprise to see them shortlisted – they should be extremely proud of themselves.”

Since taking on the 140ha (346-acre) county council Grange Farm, near King’s Lynn, seven years ago, Richard has made great strides to improve production and make the business as self-sufficient as possible. The farm houses a 990-sow outdoor breeding unit on a two-week batch production system, with weaned piglets transferred at five weeks old into the BQP Pilgrim’s supply chain.

Simon Barber, BQP Breeding Farms Fields Person , supports Richard Mellor and explained: “I am thrilled that Richard has been shortlisted. His attitude and willingness are why we see him as the benchmark of success within the BQP family. He is always eager to try new ideas and has amazing attention to detail. But even better, is his willingness to share best practice and open his farm to visitors so they can see and understand his success – the very reason he is consistently one of BQPs highest performing farms over the past four years.”

Ryan began managing his farm some three years ago after taking over from his dad, John Dyer, who initially took on the site in 1997. When he started managing the farm, aged just 25, he wasted no time in making some small and innovative changes to the system. These have positively affected pig production. The farm is a 1,200-sow outdoor herd near Thetford on 48.6ha (120 acres) of rented land, supplying piglets for the BQP Pilgrim’s supply chain.

Richard Battersby-Case, Outdoor Breeding Farms Fields Person, works closely with Ryan and said: “Ryan always looks to improve piglet quality whilst maintaining herd performance. He was one of the first farmers to wean piglets at five weeks and saw the benefits of improved piglet quality thanks to this move. I am proud to show visitors around his well-presented unit and see him as a shining example. His award nomination is testament of his journey from Stockman, aged 25, to Manager – taking the unit from strength to strength.”

Andrew added: “Ryan and Richard continue to shine as prime examples of what can be achieved through the BQP ‘working together’ partnership. These awards are also a way of encouraging others, who are thinking of joining the BQP family, to see what can be achieved through their endeavours and our support and guidance.”

Farmers Weekly’s farming awards celebrates the best of British agriculture by recognising hard-working and innovative farmers across the UK. The ceremony is one of the biggest highlights in the farming calendar. The winners will be announced on 7th October at a glitzy ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House hotel.

You can read through the finalists profiles, other award categories and learn more about the awards here.