Laxfield: Rachel Almey of Vion makes finals of Pfizer Poultry Trainee of Year awards

A Suffolk poultry trainee is among two to go forward for a prestigious national award.

Rachel Almey, of Vion in Laxfield, will be battling it out with a competitor from Shropshire for the 2012 Pfizer Poultry Trainee of the Year Award.

The award, which recognises ability, enthusiasm and commitment to training, is sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health in conjunction with the magazine Poultry World and for the first time the British Poultry Council. The winner, who will receive a �2000 training grant, will be announced at the BPC annual awards presentation event at the House of Commons on December 4.

The finalists were chosen by a judging panel comprising Philip Clarke, editor of Poultry World, Richard Griffiths, senior executive officer of BPC, John Newton, senior poultry consultant of ADAS, and Stuart Andrews, poultry technical manager for Pfizer.

Rachel started in the Vion Food Group’s poultry processing plant at Eye, Suffolk, in 2009 after working in several jobs including a garage.

She became a supervisor but realised her real interest was with chickens on the farm. After a period on broiler farm at Foulden in west Norfolk, she was given the opportunity to manage one of Vion’s oldest farms at Laxfield in Suffolk. She made an immediate impression, breaking the company’s record for performance with her first flock. “Rachel does not miss anything and this is what makes her such an exceptional farm manager,” said Werner Strydom, Vion’s regional broiler manager.

If successful, she would like to pursue her interest in bird welfare and learn more about genetics and the veterinary side of the business.

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The other finalist, Greg Pennington, is based at Harper Adams University College, Newport where 66,000 hens live in enriched colonies.