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Award-winning pig farmer finds new markets in USA

PUBLISHED: 11:24 17 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:25 17 February 2017

Steve Hart has won the title of national Pig Farmer of the Year. Picture: Ian Burt

Steve Hart has won the title of national Pig Farmer of the Year. Picture: Ian Burt

A commitment to high-welfare production has helped an award-winning pig farmer win new export customers in the USA, farmers’ club members were told.

Steve Hart, the national Pig Farmer of the Year, employs 100 staff on units in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, and runs a total of about 14,000 outdoor-reared sows.

The Downham Market-based producer told about 40 members of Holt Farmers’ Club that his Norfolk Free Range enterprise was exporting to the United States, where there is a “keen demand for antibiotic-free pork”.

Mr Hart started his pig enterprise with £500 and managed to survive the depths of severe recessions in the sector over the past 25 years. He said he also worked closely with retailers to supply top-quality high-welfare pork.

With home production now only meeting about 40pc of the total UK market for pork, he feared the pig industry could lose critical mass in accessing new lines of breeding stock.

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