Red Tractor, the NFU and the AHDB should come together to create a one-stop website to educate consumers about the realities of modern food production and farming, pig producers have urged.

As food security moved up the political agenda, it was important that conventional modern agriculture and food production methods were represented adequately, providing a counterbalance to single-issue lobbying groups and animal-welfare campaigners, producers said at a National Pig Association meeting earlier this month.

A good starting point could be the Red Tractor website of Assured Food Standards, which already provides information to consumers, with the NFU and AHDB [Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board] providing additional technical information.

Calls for better consumer information on modern agriculture come after an application for a large-scale dairy unit in Nocton, Lincolnshire, was withdrawn earlier this year. There has also been controversy about the planning application for a large-scale pig farm in Foston.

Bpex director Mick Sloyan said it was in everyone's interest that the merits, practices and benefits of modern food production including high animal welfare standards in the livestock sectors were widely understood. "This is an interesting suggestion from the NPA producer group which, I'm sure, they will now progress with prospective partners such as the NFU and AFS, as well as more widely throughout AHDB," he added.

NFU policy director Martin Haworth agreed the concept was a good idea. "However, this potential project is very much in its infancy, and we would like to hear more about how it would work and be kept up-to-date before going any further," he added.

Concerns about the information available about modern food production were also raised by Allied Industry Group chairman Peter Rollings, who said he had looked for consumer-targeted information on the internet, to no avail.