Winner of 2015 Zoetis/British Poultry Council Trainee Award

UK - Annabelle Heath, who swapped life in the horse racing world for a career in poultry, is the winner of the 2015 Zoetis/British Poultry Council Trainee Award.
calendar icon 9 December 2015
clock icon 4 minute read

She was presented with the award, which includes a £2000 training grant from Zoetis and £500 cash prize from the magazine Poultry World, by Junior Environment Minister Mark Spencer at the annual British Poultry Council awards ceremony at the House of Commons on December 8.

Before she joined Cargill Meats at Hereford 18 months ago, Annabelle spent six years working in racing stables and competing in flat races around the UK. “Had I ridden a few winners, life might have been rather different,” said Annabelle. “But after I’d spent three months on a YFC scholarship in New Zealand, I was looking for a career in agriculture and the opportunity came up with Cargill.”

Her nomination came from Nicholas Ham, Cargill Meats breeder rearing area manager, who himself won the Zoetis/BPC Training Award in 2013.

“Annabelle is a very enthusiastic young lady with a real passion for poultry and a thirst for knowledge,” he said. “She started her career with Cargill as an assistant farm manager at our breeder rearing site Ermine Street and has shown real potential for progression within the company. She often comes up with new ideas and better ways of doing things on the farm, and is always asking questions and trying to improve the performance of the birds.”

Annabelle, who was brought up near Telford on a mixed farm with a 120,000 broiler unit, is working towards a National Vocational Diploma level 3 in poultry production with Poultec Training. She was recently accepted into Tesco’s Future Farmers Foundation, a 12-month training programme that includes business planning, supply chain experience and networking opportunities.

She plans to use the Zoetis training grant to study poultry behaviour under different regimes – free range, barn or less intensive barn — to achieve ‘a much greater understanding of why production differs the way it does and why poultry behaviour has such a huge impact’. She plans to enrol for a distance learning course with Scotland’s Rural College — an approach that her manager took when he won the award.

The runners-up for the award are Laura Addison of Thirsk who works in the P D Hook hatchery at Dalton in North Yorkshire; Andrew Bumfrey who lives at Scarning, near Dereham, and manages a turkey farm for Bernard Matthews in Norfolk, and Daniel Roberts who lives at Banbury and is a trainee area manager for Faccenda Foods in Oxfordshire.

The award is chosen by a judging panel comprising Philip Clarke, editor of Poultry World; James Porritt, Zoetis poultry manager for UK and Ireland; Richard Griffiths, BPC food policy director, and Jason Gittins, ADAS senior consultant. In addition to the training grant and cash prize, Annabelle Heath receives an engraved trophy with another trophy for Cargill Meats.

Ludmila Starostina

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