Poultrynews invited industry leaders to share their Christmas/New Year highs and lows from 2016, while also expressing a poultry sector wish for 2017. Today’s contribution is from Mark Sams, general manager of Cobb Europe.
PN – What was your poultry sector highlight/low point of 2016?
MS – 2016 has been a very special year for Cobb celebrating our centenary. We’ve had so many excellent events, starting with the worldwide distributors’ conference in Boston, USA, and ending with our celebrations at Eurotier in Hannover.
Each event has been an opportunity to celebrate what Cobb has achieved and also to say ‘thank you’ to our distributors, customers and business partners who have supported us over the years.
In addition, from a UK industry perspective, the progress made in reducing the instances of campylobacter and significant reductions in antibiotic usage are achievements the industry should be proud of. Once again this demonstrates the commitment of all within the industry and our ability to solve challenges as they arise.
The low point has to be the most recent outbreak of avian influenza. As an exporter this causes our business significant challenges and under the current principles these continue well into mid-2017. This is something on which the industry and Government bodies need to work together to find a mechanism that will allow faster removal of trading restrictions.
PN – What do you most hope will be achieved by UK poultry / turkey producers in 2017?
MS – What I hope for the industry is some level of clarity regarding access to labour and certainty related to future trade. The UK poultry industry is innovative, efficient and proactive once the landscape is clear.
PN – What one poultry industry experience did you enjoy most in 2016?
MS – For me, the 50th EPIC conference at Celtic Manor in November was one of the best events of the year. Having Donnie Smith, chief executive officer of Tyson Foods, attending and presenting was a particular highlight.
The whole event was well organized with a good variety of speakers, and all of those involved in producing the 50th anniversary history of the industry book deserve commendation.
PN – Free poultry / turkey sector comment – something you feel strongly about.
MS – One of the biggest issues for the whole industry is the current uncertainty that has arisen since the Brexit vote over access to labour. If the industry loses access to the people who currently work day to day in our farms, hatcheries and processing plants, it will simply not be able to function.