'I'm in shock, it's too unbelievable for words'

A A A

Neville Kemp, a pig farmer, has gone past despair to what he calls "stage three" - a steely determination to survive.

Neville Kemp, a pig farmer, has gone past despair to what he calls "stage three" - a steely determination to survive.

"First of all you ask questions like 'Why?', then you blame others, and then in the third stage you reach the positive curve - you decide to do something about it and fight," he said yesterday.

Over the past four years, the pig breeder has faced continuous hurdles. The announcement last week that swine fever had broken out at a breeding unit only five kilometres from his land was just the latest in a long line of devastating blows. "I was just in a state of severe shock. It is just too unbelievable for words," he said yesterday.

Mr Kemp, 45, a tenant farmer for more than 20 years, has a herd of 720 breeding sows and a small number of Aberdeen Angus cattle on land near Thetford, Norfolk. Although his herd has not shown signs of infection, Mr Kemp is in a surveillance area for swine fever. The 300 pigs that are supposed to leave his farm for slaughter each week are now trapped on it. By next week, he will have almost 1,000 extra mouths to feed, with little hope of recuperating the cost at sale.

"It takes years and years and years to build up a business like this and overnight you could be worth nothing," he said. "But I am being positive. If you are negative the whole thing will fall down like a pack of cards."

Along with other pig farmers, his problems began in earnest with the crisis over bovine spongiform encephalopathy in 1996. With the ban on feeding meat and bonemeal to his livestock, he not only lost a cheap source of protein but incurred the cost of disposing of it. It cost him almost £120,000 per year.

Next, new laws were introduced in Britain, banning the use of stalls and tethers. Mr Kemp was forced to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds in building more humane enclosures for his pigs to roam free.

The price of his pork plunged. Two years ago, a pig, which would cost him almost a £1 per kilo to raise, was selling for less than half that.

Eventually, half the pig keepers went out of business and supply dropped by one-third. This year, the dead-weight kilo price of a pig rose to more than £1. "We thought, finally, perhaps, we might in the next two or three years start to recoup the costs of the last four years," he said. Then, last week, swine fever was found in England.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map