By Aimee Mahony, chief poultry advisor, NFU
Whilst avian influenza dominates most topics of conversation, the poultry sector continues to face several other challenges, whether this be labour shortages, inflationary costs, or the uncertainties over CO2 supply.
One of the things that attracted me to the poultry industry and what keeps me inspired to work on behalf of the sector is the way we approach challenges and find solutions. Innovation and progression across the sector create a resilience that is rivalled by other industries and long may that continue. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t facing significant issues, it’s just that businesses are resourceful in finding ways to weather the storms.
However, we must not stand still, particularly in the current political climate with animal welfare high on the government’s agenda. We must continue to embrace progression to achieve beneficial results which will allow us to ensure we can advance as a successful sector. This is of particular relevance to Defra’s Animal Health and Welfare Pathway which will offer support for producers meeting welfare aspirations.
There is an announcement anticipated in the Spring with further details with the possibility of small grants being available later this year. Like other schemes such as the Environment and Land Management (ELM) scheme, there is still a considerable lack of detail for the various workstreams associated with the Pathway. However, we will continue to work to better understand how we can best influence its development for the benefit of poultry producers.
I’d like to end by raising awareness that we are currently seeking passionate poultry farmers to sit on the NFU’s national poultry board for the 2022-2024 term. The board covers a wide remit of issues and helps to formulate policy on behalf of the poultry sector. Board members represent the interests of NFU poultry members covering both the poultry meat and egg sectors and if you would like to help make a difference by shaping the future focus areas for the industry, please read further details at www.nfuonline.com/sectors/poultry/. Anyone interested needs to apply before the 27 February 2022 deadline.