Comment: Why we are taking a placement student from Harper Adams

By Matt Donald, pig & poultry farmer, north Yorkshire

With all that has gone on recently, it is important as an industry, that we still have focus on the matters important to businesses outside of Covid-19. One of which is still the necessity to attract more young people into the industry, so for a second year, we are taking a placement student from Harper Adams. Again, through the ABN scholarship, we are offering the on-farm experience aspect.

To give people an insight into broiler breeders is fascinating for me, the more I speak to students, the more I realise poultry seems to be on the back foot on agricultural courses. Excuses such as hard to get into, expensive or planning are regular words mentioned by lecturers when discussing barriers to entry. This is something we need to overcome, by offering more placements as routes into the sector, helping students find their way into different aspects of poultry.

It is great to see someone from outside of agriculture who wants to get involved in improving productivity on farm, with a keen interest in both crops and poultry, in her words “agriculture is important”, I hope we manage to sway her the right way – let’s hope a few floor eggs don’t put her off!

Speaking of crops, recent feed price increases are of concern on farm, given that we grow a lot less than we buy in. With many trade uncertainties around the corner and the impact of a very low wheat harvest, short term prices are looking high.

With the government’s likely aim of keeping the cost of food low, it is worrying as to how the increased feed prices will be accounted for- no doubt squeezed margins on farm will play a big part, unless more cost of production tracker contracts are made available by the retailers.


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