This year’s EPIC conference ‘the 51st in the event’s history’ is once again being held at Celtic Manor in Newport, south Wales on 29-30 October.
The theme is ‘Brexit: standing on our own two feet!’ unsurprising perhaps given the enormous and multiple implications of the decision to leave the EU.
Last year, EPIC celebrated its 50th birthday with a stunning array of speakers and a resounding response from delegates that it was the “best ever”.
Delegates were treated to a trip down memory lane from some of the elder statesmen of the industry and were then given a glimpse of the future from some ‘young guns’ speakers. The event was also enriched by the attendance of many of the previous winners of the prestigious BPC/ForFarmers Person of the Year award over the last 50 years. Old acquaintances were renewed and new friendships formed.
2016 also saw the launch by EPIC of a unique publication charting the development of the industry over the last 50 years, recognising the events and people that have shaped and influenced our sector. The hard copy of this book was made available to delegates attending the 2016 conference and was enthusiastically welcome by all present. It is hoped that this will be an evolving resource for all those involved or interested in the history of our industry and a major project has been to make this book available on the EPIC conference website.
This year, organisers said they were conscious of the worries and opportunities that the referendum decision last June and the subsequent Brexit discussions and negotiations.
The chief aim this year is to explore what Brexit may mean for our industry and how we will then compete with the rest of Europe and globally, but also within UK, depending on how EU law settles into a future domestic agenda. Last year’s conference demonstrated the strengths of our industry and its ability to cope with change. The challenges and indeed potential opportunities Brexit presents us with must be at the forefront of our thinking and planning for the next decade.
The programme kicks off on the Sunday evening of 29 October, when this year the format is slightly different. The traditional British Egg Industry Dinner will merge with the White Meat Supper, to become the EPIC Pre-conference International Buffet.
BEIC, on behalf of the five UK based pullet hatcheries and breeders, will be sending out personal invitations to customers of the pullet hatcheries and breeders to join them at one of their designated tables at the dinner.
Pre-dinner drinks, sponsored by Aviagen, will be available from 6.30pm before the buffet is served at 19.45pm.
The Pullet Hatcheries Association (PHA) annual Service to the Industry Award will also be presented as part of the evening’s announcements, as has been the case in previous years.
On Monday 30 October, the morning session will begin at 9.00 and be opened by head of the organising committee Stephen Lister of Crowshall Veterinary Services. Speakers during the morning include farming minister George Eustice and NFU chief poultry advisor Gary Ford.
After a coffee break, Ian Wright CBE, director-general of the Food and Drink Federation, Connor McVeigh. Supply Chain Director. Macdonald’s UK, and Tim Smith, advisor to Tesco, complete the morning’s line up of speakers.
After lunch and a panel discussion, in the afternoon, Caroline Drummond of LEAF, Nathan Ward from Kantar Worldpanel, Sean Rikard, independent economic analyst, and Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer and vice president of Alltech Corporate Accounts, will take to the stage.
The conference closes at 17.00, and in the evening a formal banquet begins at 19.30, with businessman and politician Lord Digby Jones the speaker. Afterwards a late night cabaret will take place in the Merlin Bar.
Further information can be found on the website epicconference.co.uk