Former NFU Poultry Committee Chairman David Humphrey died on 20 June at the age of 79 after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.
David joined his father straight from school when he had just one poultry farm at Twyford, near Winchester, Hampshire. Another farm was purchased, and converted from dairy to egg production, which David ran.
David’s brother Peter joined the business five years later, and in due course they began their long period as joint managing directors, which only finished when David left the business in 2001.
Throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s the company expanded, acquiring rearing and laying farms across the south, taking the total laying bird capacity to 1.4 million laying birds. The majority of the farms had cages, although the company invested in their first barn units in 1982, and their first free-range farm in 1985.
In the late 1960s, David became one of the youngest directors of the British Egg Marketing Board, then the promoter of the Little Lion, which at the time was printed on the eggs. Later, David became chairman of Thames Valley Eggs, and when that business merged with Welsh Egg Producers and Yorkshire Egg Producers and became Goldenlay, he was voted chairman of that much bigger business.
After many years selling eggs through the cooperative structure, in 1991 the business changed direction: investing in Stonegate Farmers Ltd. David joined its board as non-executive director, where he remained for more than 10 years.
David had long been supportive and involved with the NFU, and joined the NFU Poultry Committee (the forerunner of today’s NFU Poultry Board), and at the end of the 1990s he took on the chairman’s role for two years, handing over to Charles Bourns when he stood down.
David left the family business in September 2001, yet continued to take an on-going interest in the poultry sector, visiting Oaklands only a couple of years ago to witness advances in colony production and robotic egg packing.
He leaves his wife Sue, who regularly attended EPIC events and golf events. He also leaves behind three sons, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.