Pork and poultry forums ready to tackle tough industry challenges

The British Pig & Poultry Fair, in partnership with ABN, returns to Stoneleigh on May 10-11, providing a long-awaited opportunity for the industry to come together and discuss challenges and opportunities.

Pork, poultry and egg producers have endured a volatile few years during Covid.

“It’s important that people attend because we haven’t seen each other in person or been together as an industry for so long,” said ABN Chief Executive Danny Johnson.

“Coming together is always important, but this year even more so.”

Aimee Mahony, Chief Poultry Advisor at the NFU, said:

“We face big challenges like bird flu and labor shortages, and it’s so important to be able to exchange ideas and hear the views of people representing different parts of the supply chain. “

To address key issues in the sectors and encourage blue sky thinking and discussion, the fair offers a packed forum program with top industry speakers speaking over the two days.

Pigs & Poultry Forums

In the hog forum, speakers will examine labor shortages and rising costs as well as the impact of having more hogs on the farm than expected, Johnson said.

“This year has been incredibly challenging. Participating in the forums and understanding what lessons can be learned from the last 12 months could help us plan our return to a sustainable supply chain for the future.

The current challenges – and Covid – have only exacerbated the feeling of isolation.

Rob Mutimer, who raises 750 free-range sows in Norfolk and is president of the National Pig Association, said:

“Mental health is a key issue for agriculture and recently it has become even more isolating; being stuck at the end of a dirt road is a lonely place.

“The Fair is a chance to see people and talk to them; I think it’s really important that everyone is present.

The poultry sector is experiencing its own challenges, with soaring input costs and a devastating outbreak of avian flu.

Demand for eggs skyrocketed during Covid, driving up prices.

“But now that demand has diminished, leaving the sector in a situation of oversupply and low prices, explains Robert Gooch, managing director of BFREPA. future holds for us.”

However, there has been a positive movement with supply contracts, which the BFREPA has been trying to get off the ground for 10 years.

“The number of members with a stream tracker or fixed price contracts has increased from 0% to 30% and we want to see that number increase further; it’s a solution we’re working on,” Gooch said.

In the broiler sector, consumer demand remains strong, with chicken being the number one meat choice in the country.

“However, customers are increasingly demanding higher welfare, slower growing chicken with lower stocking rates,” Mahony said.

“It’s a challenge, but companies are looking for ways to provide choice for consumers, rather than a complete change for the whole industry.”