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Young farmer focus: William Lea - 'We must secure a future for the next generation'

William Lea, 24, is a poultry farmer based at Church Stretton, Shropshire, and works for Lloyds Animal Feeds.

Upbringing

 

My passion for poultry began while working on the family free range farm in Shropshire, where we farm 38,000 layers.

 

I soon realised from working alongside my farther that attention to detail is key in this industry and that sparked my interest.

 

Number crunching and analysing data is something we do daily, comparing percentages and responding accordingly.

 

The difference between a producer performing in the top 10 per cent and the bottom is staggering and is the very reason why I continually review what we do, as I believe you should never stand still and think you have
conquered all the problems.

 

University

 

I decided to leave the farm in 2014 to further my knowledge and enrolled at Harper Adams University studying agriculture and business, a three-year sandwich course.

 

I managed to secure a placement working for Cargill Meats Europe, now Avara Foods, for my placement year.

 

This enabled me to see other sectors within the industry such as broilers, breeders, hatcheries, factories and even marketing - dealing with supermarkets directly and market trends, something I would not normally have been exposed to.


The experience was extremely valuable, being able to see first-hand how our production on the farm is shaped to cater for the supermarkets and consumer demands and is continually adapting.


My placement year confirmed to me that I wanted to shape my future within the wider poultry industry and since graduating from university I now work for Lloyds Animal Feeds/Country Fresh Pullets.


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Work

 

I started at Lloyds the day after my last exam at Harper Adams and took on the role as production manager.

 

I now deal with the compliance side of the business.

 

As part of my role I liaise with poultry farmers across the country, a combination of contract rearing and laying farms.


Future

 

Agriculture is a challenging but rewarding industry to work in, however, we are facing unprecedented times and an uncertain future which just means we need to be able to adapt.

 

The UK is set to leave the European Union come December 31, 2020 and is one of the biggest changes in our lifetime.

 

From my understanding, each sector within agriculture has a slightly different stance on how the trade deal should be, however we all share the same agenda in trying to secure a successful and bright future for generations to come.

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