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An update from ForFarmers UK, COO Steven Read


ForFarmers continue to take the issues around Coronavirus in the UK extremely seriously. Our number one priority from the start has been the safety and wellbeing of our employees and customers whilst maintaining continuity of feed supply to livestock. I am writing to give you an update about what that has meant in reality and how we see the immediate future.

Keeping you supplied

We have tried to be as proactive as possible and put in place actions to maintain the supply of feed. A key element of this contingency plan has been the reduction of the number of diets across all our customer base. This reduced list of diets significantly de complexes the mill and transport operations. By reducing the number of changeovers in mills and allowing us to make to stock in advance of orders coming in, it has helped us to reduce physical contact points between colleagues working in the mills. We are therefore respecting the social distancing requirements and so protecting the health and welfare of colleagues, and reducing the risk of significant absence. It also assists in coping with staff shortages due to self-isolation.

An order lead time of day 1 for day 5 was also implemented. I want to sincerely thank you for helping us with this since it has given teams with reduced workforce’s sufficient time to plan ahead and mitigate any challenges that arise. I want to assure you that we are monitoring this very closely and we will return to normal lead times as soon as we can.

Continuing to help you manage the performance of your animals

I am aware that your number one priority remains the health and performance of your livestock.Although our staff are designated as key workers we believe that where travel and contact between individuals can be avoided then we feel strongly that we must do that. As such your ForFarmers Account Manager and Specialist remain working from home. I would like to assure you that the same level of service and support is still available in the temporary adapted way of working. As mentioned in my last letter, your Account Manager is only a phone call away and so please continue to make contact when needed. We already have examples where we are able to use technology to host ‘virtual tea breaks’ and where FaceTime has been used to walk livestock.

Planning for the new normal

Of course one day we will not be in this situation, but what the new normal will look like no one quite knows. At ForFarmers, the management team have been working to gather ideas and thoughts as to what the way forward for ForFarmers should look like and how we transition there.

I remain very confident that, like the UK as a whole, by working together we can ensure that your animals continue to be as productive as possible, by us maintaining physical supplies, but also to continue to give high quality advice and therefore jointly doing our bit to keep food supplies going for our Nation.

Your feedback matters

From the onset of the Covid-19 crisis ForFarmers have striven to deliver the same high quality feed and service we pride ourselves on. However, this has been unchartered territory for all of us and so I am sure that we haven’t thought of everything, nor got everything right. I am therefore keen to hear from you with any comments or suggestions; please email info.uk@forfarmers.eu

We thank you for your patience and continued support,

Best wishes,

Steven Read

Steven Read  
Chief Operating Officer, ForFarmers UK