By Aimee Mahony, chief poultry advisor, NFU
I’m always enthused by the passion, dedication and ambition of poultry producers who strive to achieve great things. Being invited to judge the national egg and poultry awards again has been a real highlight this month and has demonstrated all these traits and more in spades. I look forward to seeing all those attending the awards ceremony in July, however before then the judging panel has some very difficult decisions to make!
Beyond the recognition bestowed by awards, there are people who remain a critical component to business success that are working hard day in and day out across the country, despite the many challenges being faced. These people are a true credit to the poultry industry.
There has recently been a review of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) by the Migratory Advisory Committee. The SOL identifies occupations where employers are struggling to recruit sufficiently from the domestic workforce and migration is considered an appropriate alternative. There are currently no agricultural roles included on the list, but following member feedback, the NFU has put forward in its response a justification for the consideration of various poultry roles.
During the recent Farm to Fork Summit hosted by the Prime Minister, the government reaffirmed their commitment to issue 2,000 visas for seasonal poultry workers this year and they also stated that they will respond to the independent review of labour shortages in the food supply chain this autumn. The NFU made a full submission to this review and knowing that attracting, recruiting and retaining good quality labour can be an issue for our poultry members, we set up a series of meetings for producers to relay their personal experiences to the independent review panel.
We now await with anticipation the outcomes of the SOL review, the recommendations from the independent panel on labour shortages in the food supply chain and the government’s response.
Towards the end of May we celebrated ten years of the NFU’s Poultry Industry Programme, an initiative that aims to encourage younger people within the poultry sector to become industry ambassadors. Participants include those that have gone on to senior management positions within leading poultry businesses and countless individuals who lead the way in terms of poultry production across both the egg and poultry meat sectors.
It’s a privilege to watch people not only expand their expertise but also hone a range of skills centred around their personal development. Looking ahead to the next ten years, with the knowledge and expertise of those further along in their careers, together with the talent coming through, I think the future is bright… we just need to ensure we embrace it.