Continuing to work for the best outcomes for the poultry sector

04 August 2023

James Mottershead

James Mottershead

NFU Poultry Board chair, Midlands

A photo of NFU Poultry Chairman James Mottershead holding a broiler inside a broiler house. He is wearing protective clothing.

In his latest update, NFU Poultry Board chair James Mottershead updates members on the latest in the poultry sector and what the NFU Poultry Team is doing to support members through AI (Avian Influenza), rising inflation and supply chain issues.

Earlier this year I wrote a series of letters to you all updating you on the various AI work streams.

Whilst AI remains a huge risk to businesses like yours and mine, the NFU poultry team and national poultry board members have been working hard to address a multitude of challenges that we all continue to face. Therefore, I wanted to write to keep you updated on everything that we are working on, on your behalf.

Highlighting challenges during every conversation

The spotlight most recently has been well and truly on inflationary pressures. The lack of British eggs on supermarket shelves has provided the political driver for the government to launch an investigation into fairness in the egg supply chain.

The NFU is feeding into this review and we will be reaching out to members for their feedback ahead of a government consultation.

NFU members can log in to read: NFU calls for Defra investigation into the egg supply chain

Alongside this work on behalf of egg members, I have been speaking to MPs, ministers and retailers to raise the impacts of rising production costs in the broiler sector and to warn them that we can’t afford to wait until it’s too late.

In recent weeks alone, this engagement has involved several meetings in Parliament and retailer meetings with both agriculture managers and supermarket buyers. The NFU will continue to highlight the challenges we all face during every conversation.

Making your MP a stakeholder in your business

I’d like to encourage you to contact your own MP and highlight the challenges that you face as we all need to treat MPs as major stakeholders. After all, they are making decisions that are affecting our future.

The NFU supports members to ensure they are fully briefed ahead of MP meetings – please do reach out to your county adviser for assistance.

A threat that just won’t go away

As I mentioned in my opening lines, the threat of AI has not gone away, and it would be naïve to think that this horrific disease isn’t going to be a risk to the poultry sector for the foreseeable future.

The NFU continues to raise the impacts of AI at the highest level with every stakeholder and our key asks remain at the heart of everything we do.

Our AI landing page on NFUonline remains the go to place for everything AI related and I’d encourage you to regularly review the content to ensure that you are up to date on any changes.

The EU is looking to change its legislation to remove the 16-week grace period for the marketing of free-range eggs when housing measures are implemented, changes that we have been lobbying for within the UK.

Defra have promised a short public consultation on this matter in the coming weeks, news of which we will share when it reaches us.

Welcome news

I am pleased to inform that despite a long-awaited decision, the group of NFU members bringing a legal challenge against the APHA have been granted permission to do so by the High Court.

This is an important case about compensation for poultry producers that have been affected by AI. The decision allows the members’ claim to proceed to a hearing which is a huge milestone in this case.

The NFU is an interested party in the case, and the team has put forward our own evidence in support of the members bringing the claim and the wider poultry sector.

An enormous amount of work and effort has gone into this case on behalf of our members to reach this stage in proceedings and we will continue to keep you informed as the case develops.

I will be keeping you updated on the work of the poultry board in the coming weeks, and I hope to shortly be able to share further details specifically on secondary cleansing and disinfection protocols and AI vaccination.

​​​​​​​If you are a turkey producer, you can find the dates for the NFU's annual turkey marketing meetings, as well as unlock a big discount on NFU-branded merchandise for the upcoming Christmas season on NFUonline.

Until then please take care.

Previous updates from the NFU Poultry chair:

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