By Aimee Mahony, chief poultry advisor, NFU
I’ve always known that the poultry sector has great resilience, but it is truly being put to the test now and there are many poultry producers that will be feeling uncertain about the future.
In recent weeks the NFU has had countless meetings with various stakeholders to raise the issues that matter most to our members. We are able to host meetings with ministers and government officials and raise the key issues with other stakeholders such as retailers and major food business operators because we have previously built relationships with them which can become extremely valuable during times like these.
We held a member roundtable meeting in April to listen to the concerns of producers regarding the egg supply chain and one of the key outcomes from that meeting was to meet with all of the retailers and food business operators. In those conversations we warned that the situation was set to deteriorate further if interventions were not made at their earliest convenience.
Six months on and we have consistently warned that a lack of confidence in returns for farmers means a significant risk of contraction in production across all sectors and this is something that is starting to become ever more apparent in the egg sector. We have seen revised payment models being introduced by some but there is much more work to be done to ensure fairness across the supply chain and this is a priority for the national poultry board.
Although I’ve said it before, I make no apology for saying it again – producers are facing some of the toughest challenges they have ever faced and to look after other people you must also look after yourself. Whilst there is professional support available if you feel you need it, the power of reaching out to a friend, speaking to a neighbour, or contacting a producer you met at a local meeting or conference in the past should not be underestimated.
You never know, they may just need to speak to someone more than they perhaps even realise and a conversation with another person, sharing the challenges and talking through any concerns may be just what you need as well.