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Feeding the nation

This cutting is from Everybody's Weekly in December 1939 just three months after the outbreak of war. Two years later, the same refrain was taken up in The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News under the caption of 'Pigging for Victory'!

For all that Warnford was hailed as the future of pig farming, the war was to prove fatal to the enterprise as my father was not able to secure enough rations on which to feed the pigs. This wasn't for want of imagination and effort. By 1940 my father had altered his pig rations 58 times and explained that "I have just had to get what I could - sugar beet pulp, raisins, sultanas and even some corn salvaged from a shipwreck". Kitchen waste from nearby Portsmouth was another important source as the following article explains.

This innovation stemmed from the wartime Government's announcement in 1940 that farmers were to reduce their feed stuff supplies by two thirds. The following article from The Farmers Weekly of June 1940 takes up the idea of using household kitchen waste in more detail. There is an interesting reference to every home in Portsmouth being given two rubbish bins, one for pig swill and the other for rhubarb leaves, tea leaves, coffee grounds and grapefruit, none of which were of any good for feeding pigs. Perhaps the first example of a large-scale domestic recycling scheme?!

As a further attempt to maintain the Warnford herd of pigs in wartime, my father invested in a flock of sheep to help raise the fertility of the soil. The following cutting is from The Farmers Weekly of August 1941.

For all that he tried, by the end of the war there was not a single pig left at Warnford and my father did not have the heart to restart the operation. However, the long-term benefits of having pigs on the land enabled him to cultivate a wide range of arable crops for the first time in Warnford's history. Of course 'long term benefits' meant pig dung! As my father said to The Farmers Weekly, "our ability to grow crops on this poverty-stricken land is entirely dependent on pigs". The following picture of a large White appeared in The Farmers Weekly in August 1941 and is captioned "one of the last bacon-pigs to be fattened at Warnford until the war is over".


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