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24th BFREPA Conference welcomes highest number of delegates in 5 years

Sector News Sector News7-12-2015

24th British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) Conference welcomes highest number of delegates in 5 years.

BFREPA Conference
Adam Henson addresses delegates

5 year records were smashed at the 24th annual conference of the BFREPA which is organised and hosted by ForFarmers. All stand space was sold out three weeks prior to the event which attracted the highest attendance of 537 delegates in 5 years, all involved in free range egg production.

“The record number of delegates and exhibitors showed that the conference was now recognised as the major event of its type in the UK poultry industry,” commented John Cessford, Marketing Manager for ForFarmers who are responsible for organising the conference and exhibition. The keen interest shown by all those attending the event reflected the strength and success of the industry.

The BFREPA Conference featured the strongest line-up of speakers in its 24 years’ history with papers presented by Jez Cooper of Freedom Food, Alan Wilkinson of HSBC, James Baxter, Farmers Weekly Poultry Farmer of the Year, Adam Henson, BBC TV farming presenter and a Cotswold farmer in his own right.

Andrew Burley also took to the conference stage for the first time in his new role as Poultry Sales Manager at ForFarmers. Andrew welcomed the 537 delegates and commented on the success of producers and the Free Range Egg industry at large. “The conference, which ForFarmers proudly organise and host, is a great opportunity for the company to demonstrate its leading role in supporting producers in this target area for the company” says Andrew, UK Sales Manager Poultry at ForFarmers. “By supporting this event, which is the biggest of its kind in the UK, ForFarmers is able to realise one of the Horizon 2020 strategic aims to focus on attractive segments and be the preferred partner to customers”.

"Sustainable Efficiency" as 2015 theme

The overall theme of the conference was “Sustainable Efficiency” which allowed the speakers to present a range of different perspectives on free range egg production as well as emphasising the success and strengths of the UK industry, with valuable advice on how to ensure production success and sustainability. The theme was also in-keeping with ForFarmers’ core value of sustainability .

Mr. Cooper took the opportunity to present the RSPCA’s Freedom Food consumer campaign and supported Adam Henson’s views on the need for branding and differentiation – factors which, he said, were integral to the long-term success of the free range poultry business. Much attention was also focused on a mini paper dealing with the highly relevant issue of Avian influenza given by Scottish vet, Dr. Barry Thorp.

The Conference also hosted the annual BFREPA awards, sponsored by Elanco, with contributions by the BBC’s Alan Dedicote and Adam Henson.  Winner of the prestigious “Lifetime Award” was Roger Lythe, Whixley, North Yorkshire, who worked for ForFarmers and - then BOCM PAULS -for over 40 years as a feed specialist.

Commenting on his career, Mr. Lythe recalled that in the late 1980s and early 1990s flat-deck units housed between 2,000 and 4,000 birds and the eggs were hand-picked.  “Now, start-up units have 16,000 to 32,000 birds on multiplier systems in fully controlled environments with on-farm egg packing,” he said. “One of the challenges remaining for the industry is to improve egg shell quality and to extend the laying period”.

 “ForFarmers is committed to supporting the free range egg industry. This conference is a high-profile event and ForFarmers is proud of our association with BFREPA and the organisation of this high profile event,” added Jonathan Farnhill, the company’s Speciality Business Unit Director.