ALTHOUGH optimistic about the future, many young pork producers regard planning and environmental issues as serious threats to their industry's viability. In particular, they are concerned that such issues can restrict an existing piggery's ability to expand and impede the establishment of new facilities needed to help the industry meet increased export-driven demand. A survey by WA Pork Producers Association (WAPPA) council delegates Sandy Gardiner and Liam Flanagan also found that many broadacre farmers still saw piggeries as integral parts of their farming operations. "In a dry year like this, with WA's grain crop likely to be cut by more than a third, on-farm diversification into pork production could be a real saviour," they said. In the report, tabled at WAPPA's fourth quarterly council meeting for 2000, it was also noted that some producers felt isolated, or vulnerable, due to the decline in total numbers of producers during the industry's rationalisation in the past few years. "It is therefore important that all producers feel they are an integral part of the industry and that we endeavour to resurrect the fighting spirit which has always been essential to meet the challenges of pig production," the report said. Speaking after the council meeting, WAPPA president and Gingin producer Chris Keene said the Association supported the environmental guidelines for new and existing piggeries, published earlier this year and signed off by producers, government agencies and major industry stakeholders. "We do, however, object strongly when developers and government authorities attempt to close down existing piggeries, or limit their ability to expand, when the original investment in a particular location was made in good faith at the time," Mr Keene said. Solicitor Kim Valenti, who is about to map all pig units on the Swan Coastal Plain, addressed WAPPA's council meeting about planning and environmental issues.