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Suffolk pig operation tries to end soy feed use as it celebrates 40 years in business

PUBLISHED: 10:45 20 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:45 20 February 2020

BQP is looking to cut down or cut out the use of soy in its pig feed  Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

BQP is looking to cut down or cut out the use of soy in its pig feed Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

A leading pig farm business is looking to the future with efforts to reduce soy use in its animal feed and enhance its green credentials as it celebrates a major milestone.

From left, Richard Gooding, grower farms manager at BQP, Paul Arundel, breeding farms manager at BQP, Andrew Saunders, BQP founder and agriculture director at Tulip Ltd, and Howard Revell, production director at BQP/Tulip  Picture: GRAHAM FUDGERFrom left, Richard Gooding, grower farms manager at BQP, Paul Arundel, breeding farms manager at BQP, Andrew Saunders, BQP founder and agriculture director at Tulip Ltd, and Howard Revell, production director at BQP/Tulip Picture: GRAHAM FUDGER

Stradbroke-based BQP manages the rearing of pigs for Dalehead, which is a division of Tulip Ltd - one of the largest meat processors in the UK.

Andrew Saunders - who is agriculture director at Tulip - founded BQP 40 years ago and the business is still going strong as an award-winning producer of higher welfare pigs.

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The company celebrated the milestone at the Suffolk Food Hall in Ipswich, with guests including suppliers, customers and key figures from across the industry.

BQP is looking to the future, undertaking a "unique" programme to support the next generation of UK farmers and agricultural experts to enhance its industry-leading credentials, guests heard.

This has included investing in new grower farm opportunities, learning and development programmes and partnerships with leading agricultural learning centres and events.

"Our core strategy at BQP focuses on the production of top quality, higher welfare pigs, with considerations of safety, efficiency and corporate social responsibility (CSR) at the heart of this," said Andrew.

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"For 40 years we've worked with the best suppliers who have helped us to continue to push forward with the latest farming innovations.

"We are also proud to count two of the UK's major retailers as our customers."

The company continues to invest in improving animal welfare standards to ensure its operations are as sustainable as possible, it said.

Measures include industry-leading reductions in the use of soy in animal feed, with ongoing research looking at alternatives that could eliminate soy use altogether. Soy crops are grown in tropical countries, where they have been linked to various environmental issues including deforestation and climate change.

"We're already looking ahead to the next 40 years of BQP, including attracting a new generation of farmers and enhancing our green credentials," said Andrew.

"Sustainable farming will remain a key priority as we strive to set new benchmarks in industry practices. As well as exploring solutions to reduce and minimise our impact on the environment, we're proactively evolving our processes to ensure we have a culture that supports our people, our animals and our planet."

Retail giant Waitrose switched to 100% outdoor bred (ODB) pigs with BQP - which had already established its own veterinary practice in 1995 - in 2003.

Its longest serving breeding farmer is Hugh Waterer of Woodbridge, while its longest serving grower farmer is John Stent of Beccles.

BQP has been part of Tulip Ltd since 2004.

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