By Aimee Mahony, NFU Chief Poultry Adviser
It was brilliant to see all those who attended the recent National Egg and Poultry Awards in London. It’s important to celebrate and recognise all the hard work that poultry businesses up and down the country are achieving day in day out. I’d like to make a special mention of Derek Kelly, who won the lifetime achievement award. I initially met Derek during one of my first weeks at the NFU and he made me feel so welcome; I felt like I’d known him for years. Derek is a true ambassador for the poultry sector and has helped to pave the way for new policies and ways of working which are benefitting us all today. Just like many other industry stalwarts, Derek truly deserves this recognition for all he has achieved over many years.
Although we are fast approaching the summer recess for MPs, we have been busy engaging across Westminster. In recent weeks, NFU board members have been highlighting the continued pressures facing the poultry meat and egg sectors. They have been raising in particular the issues with the volatility of input costs in the broiler sector and the impact this is having on producer confidence. It’s important never to underestimate the influence of politicians and we can all make a difference by ensuring that we treat MPs as major stakeholders. I think the next few weeks and months will be even more important to do this, as the political landscape is set to change once again.
Another major concern for many poultry businesses is accessing a reliable workforce. It is encouraging to see the recommendations recently published from the independent labour review. The NFU was fully engaged with this review which allowed us to put forward members who were poultry producers to fully articulate the impacts of labour shortages on their businesses. Hearing first-hand from these producers allowed the review panel to fully understand the need for timely solutions. We now wait in anticipation for the government’s response to the panel’s recommendations which is expected in the autumn. For some businesses actions cannot come soon enough and this is something we will continue to highlight as it remains a priority for the NFU’s National poultry board.