Why we should be proud of our farmers

Torbay Weekly

Firstly, welcome! I feel very privileged to be writing this and hope that you will enjoy learning more about an integral part of British culture.

I come from a family dairy farm in Berkeley, Gloucestershire. Having spent my early years growing up around livestock, I knew that a career in farming, one way or another, was for me.

I was very lucky to have parents that didn’t push me into taking over the farm immediately and encouraged me to go away and learn from others. I milked for a number of local farmers and then went on to spend six months in NZ on a dry stock farm in Waikato, North Island. I absolutely adore the country. Farming is the life blood of their nation.

Having returned from NZ in 2015, I then completed my degree in Agriculture from the Royal Agricultural University, and I have now also completed a MSc in Poultry Science from the University of Edinburgh. Never would I have ever thought I would say I have a masters!

My first few years in the commercial world were spent working for agricultural recruitment consultants, De Lacy Executive. I know, that without the help of John Davies, who first employed me, I would not be where I am today.

Whilst in this position, I first gained my love for the poultry industry. After a few years here, I went on to work for Alltech, a global business producing feed additives and now I have been with Crediton Milling Company for just over two years. I could not work for a better family business, and I owe the Gulley family much thanks for supporting me and helping me progress my career.

Well, that is enough about me! Let’s move on to the real reason why you are (hopefully) reading this – Great British Farming!

Agriculture, across the board, has had a very bad rap in recent years. But why? Without farmers, we would not have food on the table. The UK boasts one of the highest welfare standards in the world and we should be extremely proud of this. Why then is all this blood sweat and tears taken for granted?

Let’s look at eggs. Eggs are one of the most nutritious food sources, full of protein, and vital nutrients and vitamins. Within eggs you will find, Vitamin K, D, A, E, Calcium, Phosphorus and Zinc, but to name a few. Eggs really do pack a punch! They are a relatively cheap food source and the meals created from eggs are almost endless.

When you buy eggs, are you picky about shell colour? Eggs can be brown or white or any colour in-between. But why does it matter what colour the shell is? The contents of every egg is exactly the same. White birds producing white eggs are in fact much more efficient than their brown feathered friends; eat less, produce more and a lot more docile. White eggs, I believe, are the way forward.

Medium and large eggs have the same size yolk. So, if you think you’re getting more bang for your buck by buying large, you’re wrong. Buying large eggs also creates a massive strain on bird welfare.

A hen can only lay so much ‘egg mass’. This means, she will either lay a large number of medium eggs or a small number of large eggs. With the consumers buying consistently more large eggs than anything else, the supermarkets are pushing farmers to produce more large eggs.

Fundamentally, this is not natural for the hen, and we are manipulating nature. The more large eggs the hen produces, the more strain put on that bird, and therefore the more health issues; ultimately resulting in a shorter life span.

So, if you take anything from this article, my advice would be to buy medium or mixed weight eggs. This supports what a hen will lay naturally.