NFU poultry adviser Aimee Mahony reflects on the talking points at the NFU's recent turkey marketing meetings in a column for Poultry Business magazine.
Each year the NFU organises a series of turkey marketing meetings up and down the country for seasonal growers.
A particular talking point this year was the difficulty sourcing, and the increased cost, of workers. Despite the feed price being down slightly, a rise in labour costs contributed to an overall increase in the cost of turkey production of 1.55% compared to last year. We all know that seasonal turkey production can be particularly labour intensive and we are continuing to see the trend that businesses are struggling to find good quality labour.
The NFU is committed to raising this issue with Government and we are launching a survey of seasonal turkey producers to further our evidence base.
Onto more positive matters. The guest producer speaker at each meeting is always a highlight, hearing how a fellow farmer does ‘Christmas my way’.
One presentation that stuck with me was father and son duo, David and Sam Figgis from Wey Street Farm in Kent, who presented at our West Sussex meeting about their family fruit business which has diversified into turkeys. Sam, a fifth-generation farmer started out with a few birds in the back garden and has grown to nearly 1,000 birds in the space of three years.
Expanding the number of birds on a yearly basis is credit to Sam’s dedication to drive sales. Two-thirds of the birds are sold from the farmgate and Sam believes this is the best route to the consumer. Social media is utilised with presence on Facebook and Instagram and the family believe these are both good platforms to promote their business, particularly as they are free to use.
Make sure you look out for producers promoting themselves on social media on the 6th December when we run our #buymyturkey campaign, now in its third year.
Producers have a great story to tell and selling direct from the farmgate or to local butchers in such a competitive marketplace means that it's important to reach out to the consumer and share your story with them.