Patrick Hook - 2050: The challenges and opportunities to the UK Broiler Industry
I live in West Oxfordshire, with my wife Grace and I am a third generation member of the farming family business. Oxfordshire is where my Grandparents started hatching day old broiler chicks nearly 50 years ago. We now rear, breed, hatch and grow broiler chicks across the UK and supply major retailers. In addition we have a farming partnership incorporating a mixed arable, beef and sheep enterprise.
I completed a degree in Business Management at Aberystwyth University in 2008 and I have been directly involved in the business for the last six years and currently sit on the board of directors. My main responsibilities are organising the production and planning broiler chick placements and visiting farms and hatcheries on a weekly basis to ensure they are conforming to required industry, retail and company standards.
Outside of work I am an active member of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, holding the position of County Chairman of Oxfordshire in 2011. In my spare time I take part in game and clay shooting. I am a keen sportsman and enjoy going to local and international rugby games.
2050 has been marked as a key year in terms of producing more from less and an increasing global population. This increasing population will have a direct impact on the UK broiler industry and there will be challenges and opportunities to meet this demand. I will examine farming systems and see what other industries are doing to maximise efficiencies through use and development of on farm technologies. In addition I will look at what the main breed companies and doing to optimise bird performance in the future. Furthermore I will look at sustainable intensification of the sector and how retailers view the future ‘chicken on the shelf’. The different strategies other countries are adopting to recruit, retain and develop young people in the industry is a key aspect that I will also focus on.
I would like to thank the Central Region Farmers Trust for their generous sponsorship and support for my Nuffield Scholarship.