The future of the British free range egg sector will be discussed the fortnight before the UK is set to leave the European Union.
Over 500 egg producers and industry specialists are expected to attend the 28th British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) conference and exhibition on 15 October in Birmingham.
The 2019 conference, entitled ‘Fit for the Future – British Free Range Eggs, where next?’ will cover a wide range of issues with sessions from speakers including retailers, industry analysts, innovation and technology experts, vets and free range egg producers.
“This is a critical time for the British free-range egg sector,” says BFREPA chairman James Baxter. “Producers will get a chance to listen to, and question, the experts over the challenges they will face in the future.”
While the sector faces the threat of imports of lower-welfare, low-cost eggs from across the globe, producers are still looking to the future.
Many are keen to hear from retailers on how they intend to support the British free range egg sector and what other opportunities there may be.
One such producer is BFREPA Council member John Warne. “With Brexit on the horizon and the threat of potential zero tariffs for egg imports, I’m keen to hear what retailers are doing to prepare, what consumers want, and what other schemes such as barn production might be available for British egg producers in the future.”
Insight on supply contracts, markets, and the latest hot topics, including the future for barn production will be provided by Tesco’s Agricultural Manger for poultry, eggs and feed John Kirkpatrick, while Kantar will provide analysis of markets and retail trends in eggs.
The voice of the retailer will also feature on the ‘Question Time’-style panel session in the afternoon, where Rob Hoffman, buying manager for eggs at Morrisons will join Scottish free range egg producer Karen Campbell from Glenrath Farms, and poultry vet Ian Jones, to answer questions on the free range egg supply chain.
The 2019 BFREPA conference will also feature 50 industry companies exhibiting their products and services throughout the day.
Experts will also highlight new technology and innovative methods to improve individual laying units, egg producing business, and the sector as a whole.
Novel poultry feed is one such innovation that will be discussed. Insect protein specialist James Wright will discuss the opportunities for the free range egg sector.
“Feed derived from insect protein offers the free-range egg sector a real opportunity to increase its sustainability, by moving away from traditional soya-based feed inputs,” says Wright. “But it needs investment and ambition from those who can scale up production and for producers to make the switch. I’m really looking forward to enthusing conference delegates about this exciting opportunity.”
The latest innovations and technology for the laying sector will be highlighted by David Speller from the Applied Group, in his conference session.
The conference is preceded by a sold out BFREPA Gala Dinner and Awards, in association with The Pullet Hatcheries Association, on the evening of 14 October.
Conference tickets are available through the BFREPA website: https://www.bfrepa.co.uk/tickets/