The Ranger magazine is the leading authority in free range production. Published monthly by the British Free Range Egg Producers Association it is available to members in printed format and digital download. To access back issues you have to be a member of the Association.
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While the BFREPA steering committee has met since lockdown, BFREPA council meet for the first-time using zoom technology at the beginning of July. Twenty members in a virtual room will be a challenge, but there is much to discuss.
BFREPA has responded robustly to accusations from the Sunday Times that free range producers are responsible for pollution in the River Wye. As usual, these stories tend to follow a predetermined agenda, and despite correcting some inaccuracies and disputing some of the claims that free range is responsible, the article’s theme concentrated on free range egg production.
Together with ForFarmers we have signed off on the BFREPA Awards and Conference for the 29th and 30th September 2021 at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole. As soon as all the speaker and stand information are finalised, we shall be in touch with exhibitors. 2021 will be a busy year with the Pig and Poultry Show rescheduled for May 2021.
These have been exceptional and challenging times, and despite the boom in egg sales, our members are still experiencing losses, so it is inevitable that they are expecting BFREPA to highlight these issues to the retailers and in a smaller way to an under-pressure packer base.
When egg producers see such high demand for egg, they question why the benefit does not reach them.
Never have we seen demand so high and prices so low. Looking back on the Ranger figures, we see producer prices declined over the last sixteen years when they reached a peak of 105.6 in the first quarter of 2013 to the 79.2 pence in the first quarter of 2019, before rising ever so slightly to 86.5. BFREPA break-even price is 101.7, and in all this time, not one input price has reduced.
Covid-19 has shown how vulnerable an underfunded free range sector is to life’s curveballs, yet despite the challenges we have handled it efficiently.
The market is now starting to stabilise as panic buying eases and the Government starts to consider how it intends guide us through the next stages. We have though, seen a vision of the potential for increased demand and who knows, consumers’ newfound love of baking may continue unabated past the lockdown.
Whilst this virus has highlighted plenty of failings for the country to address it is not yet the time to disseminate the issues faced in the timeline, for our industry it has shown how a poor producer price has consequences, not just for welfare, but also for continuation of supply in a tight market.