Chicken and egg - the life of a future farmer

Beth Bennett
Beth Bennett
Farm Manager, Anglia Free Range Eggs

In 2013 the Tesco Future Farmers Foundation was launched to help talented and determined young people make a start or to progress in the world of agriculture.

In 2013 the Tesco Future Farmers Foundation was launched to help talented and determined young people make a start or to progress in the world of agriculture by offering leadership training, business planning workshops, mentoring and supply chain experience. Anyone within the UK interested in agriculture could apply (from the age of 20 – 35 years old). From the initial applicants fifty were chosen to attend an interview day with the aim of getting a place on the Future 15.

Since September 2012 I have managed two flocks of 16,000 Free Range Layers at Anglia Free Range Eggs. My job consists of maintaining high welfare standards and management of the flock, to produce good quality eggs for customers such as Tesco.

The Future 15 is an intensive programme offering two day sessions, mentoring, a training budget and a chance to apply for an international scholarship. Tesco also hosted days at their headquarters in Cheshunt with various managers to give their future farmers an insight into a major supermarket and how the food items get from farm to shelf.

A young woman holding a chicken Eggs this way!

The 12 month programme concluded with a two day intensive course of leadership training for the Future 15 and a chance to present to a panel of Tesco Managers our future personal development or business plan as well as our proposal for the international scholarship. Only two scholarships were available so to actually win one was a real achievement & a great feeling!

My proposal consisted of drawing on current industry challenges with the possible beak treatment ban in 2016; I proposed to focus on further understanding the link between genetics and natural poultry behaviours to help minimise aggression in commercial free range layers whilst ensuring the longevity and welfare of the hen and maintenance of the egg shell quality. I plan to do this by looking into three aspects that I feel affect aggression; these are management, nutrition and genetics. I plan to go to Germany and Holland with two genetics companies to understand how they produce a commercial hen. I will also spend time with Bristol University to further understand chicken behaviours.

A man and young woman in a field of chickensOn the farm

I’ve got lots of exciting plans ahead through to March 2016 with my International research scholarship. I’ll blog soon to update on my progress and any developments, so watch this space!

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