Doug Wanstall - Free Range Egg Production, building resilience and Managing the transition into a mainstream, commodity market place
I live and work near Ashford in Kent, I work alongside my Father and Uncle on the farm and my wife Stephanie runs one of our diversified enterprises, a very busy restaurant and events venue. I have 2 children, Alex and Issy both of whom are obsessed with sport and both better than I ever was! My sporting activities are now restricted to coaching junior rugby and standing on the shooting ground.
I have always been interested in farming and from a very young age decided that I wanted to be the 4th generation of the Wanstall family to run Bank Farm.
Our farming enterprise consists of 1200 acres of arable production and 145,000 free range laying birds. The egg enterprise has grown over the last few years by a combination of capital investment and offering existing producers interesting and fair alternatives to running their units themselves. The aim is to build the scale and profitability of the egg business by adding layers of integration as we identify opportunities to improve margins and controls.
I have always been interested in breaking down barriers and doing things slightly differently to the rest of the pack. The quest to add layers of integration and build consistent and sustainable profits is what led me down the Nuffield Scholarship path.
Free range egg production has enjoyed some wonderful years of growth and profitability as the market has grown and production has only just kept up with the pace of demand. It is clear though that those days are rapidly coming to an end with regular reports of oversupply. The aim of my project is to see how we can protect profits in order that this relatively young part of the farming industry can thrive long into the future.
I plan to visit successful farming businesses across the globe to see how they have built resilience and managed to maintain profits. Resilience can be built in a number of ways, by adding integration, adding value, better marketing, looking at alternative sources of primary raw ingredients to name but a few. My aim is to find some of the answers for the free range sector and maybe some that can be adopted by the wider agricultural industry.