Producers are doing everything they can to continue to produce quality, affordable eggs and poultry meat, which are such staple products in many people’s diets. However, we are seeing an escalating situation with rising input costs which is causing many to consider their future in the industry.
With an increasing number of producers, specifically in the egg sector, expressing concerns for business resilience, we decided to bring together NFU members representing both primary production and egg packing businesses at a roundtable meeting which took place on 4 April.
The aim of the meeting was to give members the chance to share their concerns and to collect data and evidence which can be used to formulate appropriate asks to take forward to the supply chain to ensure the sustainability of egg production going forwards.
The meeting was chaired by NFU Poultry Board Chair James Mottershead and members in attendance represented all scales and sizes of various egg production systems and joined the meeting from all the regions across England and Wales.
Ongoing crisis in Ukraine
NFU Head of Food and Farming Phil Hambling introduced the broader work already underway in response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion.
He talked about the various meetings which have already been held and shared insights from interactions with various government officials and meetings that NFU President Minette Batters has attended with the CEOs of major retail and food business companies.
Impacts of rising costs
A recurring theme throughout the roundtable meeting was that while producers are concerned right now, there is also a growing concern for how the impacts of rising costs will truly start to bite in the months to come.
One of the outcomes of the meeting is to consider both short- and long-term asks with one example being to look at a better model for benchmarking and tracking input costs.
Feed tracker models
A subgroup of members will now look at how existing feed tracker models can be improved, with one idea being an exploration of how additional costs such as those linked to labour and energy could also be tracked.
Ultimately, the price of poultry products must be sustainable for farmers. At the time of writing and because of agreed action following the member roundtable meeting, we have engagements already confirmed with several of the major retailers and food service businesses to specifically discuss the challenges faced by the egg sector.
We will be looking for actions that seek solutions to ensure the viability of poultry businesses as we move forward.
We know how challenging the current situation is for our members and will continue to work hard on your behalf to raise these issues appropriately with relevant stakeholders across the poultry supply chain.
Thank you to members
I would like to say thank you to members who have fed in their experiences and concerns to the NFU so far. This evidence base is crucial as we must formulate our arguments on facts in order to get the best solutions for the sector.