Looking ahead to 2022 – Thomas Wornham, Poultry

First published: 20 December 2021

Headshot of Thomas Wornham

As 2021 draws to a close, your board Chairs look ahead to a new year. Thomas Wornham, Chair of the Poultry board, considers what lies in store for 2022.

Now that COP26 has passed, it’ll be interesting to see whether media interest remains.

The unfair scrutiny directed at agriculture is sometimes enough to make you want to walk away from the business. The reality is that we’re doing our best with the tools we have. Just maybe the tools available need improving?

A work-in-progress

The Poultry team has endured a tough 2021. The welfare at time of transport consultation has ill-thought-out proposals and engaging with Defra on this will be a work-in-progress during 2022.

Following extensive lobbying, the industry was granted eleventh-hour support ahead of Christmas with 5,000 temporary visas for overseas workers.

Moving forwards we need to see further government commitments on labour to ensure we have a viable food supply chain.

Absorbing all the costs

At the beginning of summer, concerns of CO2 shortages were gathering speed and, by September, well, you know the rest. Avian influenza reared its ugly head at about the same time as inflation was kicking off.

Having kept the supermarket shelves full during the pandemic, it’s the producer that is again absorbing all the costs.

Next obstacle to solve

So, what for 2022? I wanted our sector to influence the discussion on the environment in 2021 because of the developing ELM scheme and I still hope that we take the initiative.

I see ammonia emissions as our next obstacle to solve. The bigger issues of labour, animal welfare and technological developments will take longer.

But despite the challenges we must keep positive as we have achieved so much during an arduous period.

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