22-11-2013 14:22 PM | News
Ann Herbert, who began producing eggs for Daylay in 1990, received the award for producers with more than five year's experience in free rangeA veteran of the free range sector has been named producer of the year by the British Free Range Egg Producers' Association (BFREPA) sponsored by ISA. Nick Bailey, Managing Director of Joice and Hill presented the awards.
Waitrose removed cage eggs from its shelves in 2001. Barn eggs were removed in 2008, since when all the eggs sold in Waitrose stores have been produced on free range unitsAnn Herbert, who began producing eggs for Daylay in 1990, received the award for producers with more than five year's experience in free range at BFREPA's annual conference in November, along with Ben Wharfe from Cheshire, who won the producer of the year award for those with less than five years' experience.
Ben Wharfe, whose unit is near Knutsford in Cheshire, came to free range egg production after leaving his previous career in the armyAnn's free range unit is at Lewstone near Monmouth in Monmouthshire. She began in 1990 with a small flock in a flat deck system in a converted farm building, but in 2012, following the reduction in stocking rates to nine birds per metre, she invested in a 16,000-bird Dutchman multi-tier system and, at the same time, installed solar panels on the roof.
Although she and her husband, Jim, have had free range birds on the same farm for 23 years, production figures are nine eggs ahead of the Lohmann breed target at 61 weeks.
As well as caring for their birds, the couple regularly host visits by local school children to give the youngsters an insight into how food is produced.
Ben Wharfe, whose unit is near Knutsford in Cheshire, came to free range egg production after leaving his previous career in the army. Although he was returning to the family farm, he was keen to introduce a new enterprise to the business.
His free range egg unit was created in the face of fierce local objections to his planning application, but he has since opened up the farm to the local community. More than 100 members of the public attended a recent open day to see how free range eggs are produced.
Ben is currently on his second flock. He has 12,000 birds producing eggs for the happy egg company, and he has achieved one of the highest scores in the Noble farm standards audit.
Noble Foods picked up the award for marketing initiative of the year for its 'happy hens lay tastier eggs' advertising campaign. Noble says that the promotional initiative generated more than 300 pieces of coverage for the brand, including radio coverage and extensive views of an online video. Noble says there was a 20 per cent increase in followers on Facebook and Twitter just two days into the campaign.
The retailer of the year award went to a supermarket chain whose name is synonymous with high quality and high welfare - Waitrose, which has been supporting free range egg production since the early 1980s.
Waitrose removed cage eggs from its shelves in 2001. Barn eggs were removed in 2008, since when all the eggs sold in Waitrose stores have been produced on free range units. The supermarket also insists on cage free in all its own label food and drink products. Waitrose egg sales now account for 6.5 per cent of the UK egg market and each year it continues to out-perform the market place for shell egg sales.
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