Good egg Terry Ellener receives Lifetime Achieve Award at the Free Range Awards

Terry Ellener, previously of Hy-line UK

Terry Ellener, previously of Hy-line UK - Credit: Archant

All-round good eggs from the British free range industry have been honoured for their efforts in 2014.

This year’s Free Range Awards were handed out to businesses, individuals and producers who have made a positive impact on the sector in the past 12 months.

Terry Ellener, a retired technical consultant at Hy-line UK, who lives at Great Ashfield, near Bury St Edmunds, received a lifetime achievement award.

He devoted his working life to poultry – from a schoolboy farm worker at Wortham, near Diss, to sales director and technical consultant for Hy-Line UK, based at Redditch.

The judges praised his work to support free range producers over the past 30 years and the influence he had on how laying flocks are managed in all systems today.

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Judges said: “Terry very quickly became the ‘main man’ for everything free-range when this new concept of poultry farming evolved back in the 80s.

“Terry has always prided himself on his one to one service with producers. He has hand-held many free-range customers through the years and has travelled from Lands’ End to John O’Groats doing so and on occasions in the same week.”

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He had also been “a great source of information” throughout his time in the industry helping not only Hy-Line to become a premier breed by relaying information back to geneticists in the United States but also having an influence on how all laying flocks are managed in all systems today.

“Terry Ellener has recently retired from the everyday side of the business but has promised to be available as a font of knowledge to be called upon as needed in the future. It is therefore a fitting point to wish him a happy retirement and thank him for all the instruction over a long and successful career,” judges added.

Terry, now aged 73, retired from Hy-line a year ago. He was the son of a stockman, Harry Ellener, and in his youth worked for poultry packing firms in Diss and Eye before joining SAPPA (the Suffolk Agricultural Poultry Producers’ Association) in Bury St Edmunds in 1967.

He was initially involved in developing and expanding egg production before going on to a technical sales role and eventually becoming sales manager.

During this time SAPPA took over a Hy-line franchise and when the Hy-line operation became an independent company in 1995 Terry became its sales director. He later become sales technical director and finally worked in a consultancy role, which involved working in 13 different European countries, advising on technical issues.

“With 28 years at SAPPA and 18 with Hy-line, I have had a wonderful journey,” said Terry.

The Free Range Awards saw Sainsbury’s win the Retailer of the Year crown while the family-run Lakes Free Range Egg Company from Cumbria won the Food Business of the Year title.

The Happy Egg Company took home the marketing initiative award for its work on organic eggs. Breakthrough of the Year was won by Longhand Isotopes.

James and Margaret Baxter from Dumfries and Galloway won Producer of the Year in the one-to-five years in business category while Midlands-based Anthony and Lorna Gaden won the equivalent award for older businesses.

Myles Thomas, chairman of the award’s organiser, the British Free Range Egg Producers Association, said: “It’s important that we highlight those who are really committed to free range eggs, whether that’s actually producing them or supporting those who do.

“Customers who choose free range do it because they believe in the way we produce eggs so it’s our job to ensure that we recognise excellence within our industry as they are the ones who will keep driving free range forward.”

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