the judges

Judging Process

All entries received will be initially subject to a paper judging stage against the criteria outlined. In most categories, the top three will be shortlisted and designated as finalists. These finalists will then need to complete a telephone interview. Finalists in the Indoor and Outdoor Producer of the Year award will be subject to an on-site by our judges (COVID-19 permitting)  to determine the winner. Shortlisted entrants into Trainee of the Year will be invited for an interview in London with the finalists confirmed after the interview.

Meet the decision makers

Stewart Houston

Stewart Houston, Chair of Judges

A member of Defra’s Pig Core Group, Defra’s Animal Health and Welfare Board England (AHWBE) and chair of Red Tractor’s Pig Sector

Lizzie Wilson

Lizzie Wilson

The NPA’s policy services officer, Lizzie Wilson, has worked in the UK pig industry for 18 years. While much of her time is spent liaising with members and government on planning and environmental legislation or battling the increasing tide of animal rights activism and anti-farming rhetoric, as a farmer’s daughter and a former employee of BQP and Elanco, she has a thorough grounding in practical pig production. All of which makes her ideally suited to judge the National Pig Award candidates.

David Owers

David Owers

David won the inaugural National Pig Awards-Single Site Producer of the year in 2014 . He runs a 700 Sow Farrow to finish unit in Lincolnshire selling over 33 Pigs/Sow/Year . He said it is inspiring to see the high standard of entrants we have seen in previous years.

Jen Waters photo

Jen Waters

After qualifying from the University of Leeds with a Research Masters in Disease Eradication Initiatives in Pigs, I joined the then BPEX as a KT Manager for the north of England where I spent a year cutting my teeth working with a number of different Yorkshire pig farmers. I spent the majority of the next decade working for Tulip Ltd ultimately as Supply Chain Development Manager where building relationships with customers at both ends of the supply chain and bridging the gap between farm gate and retailer was my main focus, I also completed a PgC in Meat Business Management. Earlier as Eastern Chair for the YNPA and latterly elected on to the NPA AIG I recognise the needs for the full supply chain to work together to be successful and bring this collaborative approach to all ventures. In 2019 I re-joined AHDB as Senior Knowledge Exchange Manager and have since been promoted to the Head of Pork Knowledge Exchange, here I hope to continue to add value to our levy payers and I am committed to pushing the boundaries of the industry to ensure its success in the future. Outside of work I live in Norfolk with my partner Rob, a vegetable farm manager with our two working cocker spaniels, Bracken and Fern, and three chickens Philida, Winnie and Delia.


Charlotte Evans

Dr Charlotte Evans is the Head of Technical and Nutrition at ForFarmers UK. In 2009 Charlotte gained a PhD specialising in infectious diseases in pigs and then worked on a local 1000 sow pig unit before joining BPEX (later AHDB), where she worked for 8 years. Within ForFarmers, Charlottes role is to provide nutritional solutions on to farm. She is passionate about the practical application of new nutritional knowledge and has a keen interest in innovation and new technology.


Paul Thompson

I joined Garth Veterinary Group in 1986 , and subsequently became partner. Over the years I have worked extensively with pigs as well as running the general mixed and small animal sections of the practice in the past, and operating our diagnostics lab Beeford Labs Ltd. Garth was sold in March 2015 to Origin which in turn sold subsequently to VetPartners and I have continued to work for the business on an employed basis both as a pig vet and as clinical director with responsibility for the groups pig work. The VetPartners group now represents by far the largest pig and livestock veterinary practice in the UK. My work is now predominantly pig. I am an official veterinarian and hold many of the export panels. I am actively involved in veterinary societies and was for many years Treasurer of the Pig Veterinary Society and am now currently President of the Society. In my private life I am a keen trail runner and enjoy watching wildlife.

John Lewis

John Lewis

John Lewis is the founder and Chairman of Lewis Business Media, owners of Pig World magazine. Over the course of a business publishing career lasting 40 years, he has organised and judged many awards schemes in several different markets. In addition to being a current judge of The National Pig Awards, John has also chaired the judging panel of the National SQP awards for the last 3 years.

Pedigree Breeder of the Year Judge

Jane Mathews Photo

Jane Mathews

Jane was elected as Chairwoman of the British Pig Association in 2018, having served as a breed representative for 6 years, and chaired the Pork and Education Committee. Brought up on a dairy farm, with a small herd of pigs and sheep, Jane is still involved in the family farm and pedigree Ayrshire herd. Jane is passionate about preserving and conserving our livestock industry, and particularly our traditional and rare breeds. Jane has bred pedigree pigs for 14 years but has always been involved in the livestock sector.

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