Fifteen young producers have won a place at Europe’s largest free range egg conference through a new initiative by the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) and Wynnstay Humphrey Feed and Pullets.
Ranging from 18 to 30-years-old, the group will attend BFREPA Live in Telford next month with entrance to the event, a seat at the awards dinner, and hotel accommodation all included.
A huge number of applications were received for the opportunity to learn more about free range egg production, including seeing all the latest innovations on show at the exhibition, networking with the industry, and listening to the conference speakers.
Aberdeenshire-based Angus and Lauren Dowell are among those selected. The married couple recently began their venture into free range with their first flock of 64,000 birds, which was delivered in August.
“We’ve only had our hens for six weeks and BFREPA Live will be a great way for us to get involved in the wider industry,” said Lauren Dowell. “It’ll be good to speak to industry experts who can help us expand our knowledge as we venture into a new industry for us.”
Also attending is 18-year-old Emily Hollins, an agriculture student from Reaseheath College.
“I am keen to meet like-minded young producers alongside interacting with senior members and hearing about their personal journeys within the sector,” she said. “I think this is a great opportunity to learn more about new initiatives in the industry and generally expand my knowledge.”
The other winners are: Caleb Samuel, Richard Mottershead, Henry Gibbs, William Powell, Catherine Price, Bethany Irwin, Natalie and Alex Wrath, Harrison Hollins, Samuel Barker, Rebecca Goodings, and Charlie Forsyth.
Richard Jones, National Poultry Business Manager at Wynnstay Humphrey Feeds and Pullets, said: “We are delighted to support the inaugural BFREPA Young Producers Initiative for the 2023 event.
“It is paramount to our industry that we nurture the next generation of producers by facilitating their participation in industry events.
“This commitment is integral to securing a prosperous future for the free range egg industry.”
BFREPA Live 23 has been reformatted into a one-day conference and exhibition, with dinner hosted by comedian Al Murray.
During the day, BFREPA Chairman James Baxter will tell his avian influenza story for the first time. Baxter’s 192,000 hens were culled in January after contracting bird flu.
There will also be a panel on AI vaccination, hosted by BFREPA chief executive Robert Gooch with APHA’s Gordon Hickman, Dave Hodson from Rosehill Poultry, and Crowshall’s vet Ian Lowery joining as panellists. A debate will be held on whether there should be a Great Britain-wide vaccination programme, the pros and cons of having one, and how it might work if it became a reality.