The 2015/2016 NFU Poultry Industry Programme (PIP) has been hailed a success. NFU, the voice of British farming, ran the program in conjunction with ABN, a leading British manufacturer of poultry and pig compound feed. PIP is aimed at developing the skills and knowledge of young people in Britain’s biggest farming sectors.
Sixteen candidates between 20 and 35 years of age took part in the program, which concluded with one of the candidates being chosen for the first NFU PIP award. The 2016 EPIC (Egg and Poultry Industry Conference) Young Poultry Person of the Year was also recognized.
Daniel Johnson, national sales manager for poultry and game at ABN, explains the importance of these initiatives to the industry. “ABN has been partners of the NFU PIP since it started, and for us this is one of many initiatives we are involved in that’s vital to help encourage young people to choose a career in agriculture,” Johnson says. “In its infancy, both the NFU and ABN were looking for involvement in an initiative that helps retain and develop the knowledge and skills of young people in the poultry industry. And the NFU PIP is the perfect vehicle for this.”
Gary Ford, NFU poultry adviser, reiterates how the partnership between the NFU and ABN has resulted in a program that is highly valued by the industry. “This is the second NFU Poultry Industry Program we’ve run, in line with ABN, and it’s again been so rewarding for all involved,” says Ford. “Programs like this are vital to the poultry industry to ensure we retain people within the sector. With the absence of a levy board, it’s crucial we have the opportunity to share best practice advice and new skills and technologies.”
During this year’s program, the candidates followed a jam-packed training schedule across a wide range of areas. These included negotiating and understanding market trends and industry pressures, learning about cutting-edge technology, and information and advice surrounding lobbying.
“We work closely with Gary and Patrick Joice, the Chairmen of the NFU PIP, to develop a range of activities that will benefit the candidates. And this year was no exception,” Johnson explains. “We arranged trips to Brussels and Westminster, as well as to one of our mills and a mainline retailer, all with the intention of exposing candidates to experiences they would not necessarily have access to, helping with skill development.”
He points out that the first NFU PIP award was presented this year. For this honor, participants were required to write 1,000 words on how they would overcome one of the main challenges they saw for the poultry industry in the coming years. The aim is to demonstrate continual development throughout the program.
“The award has been really well received by the participants, and we have our first worthy winner, Dr. Steven Pace, who has also recently been announced as the 2016 EPIC Young Poultry Person of the Year, which really highlights how Steven’s contribution to the industry has been widely recognized across our sector,” says Johnson. “There is a real desire for this program within the industry, and ABN is in it for the long run. The poultry industry is very proud of its self-sufficiency, and this has been built on good communication and networking between the industry. Maintaining this through future generations, and continuing to build on this is very important.”