The key themes coming into focus at AHDB as I settle into new role

Kate Mellor Jan 2017 (3)
Kate Mellor was formerly a pig farmer with 1,000 outdoor sows, and is now AHDB Pork senior exchange manager

It’s all change at AHDB Pork. For the past three years I have been firmly embedded in the South of England as knowledge exchange (KE) manager, working closely with and supporting producers, both large and small.
So when the senior position at AHDB became available it was an opportunity too good to miss. Those of you who were lucky enough to have met my old boss, Steve Winfield, will know what big shoes I’ve agreed to fill (physically and metaphorically!).

Hopefully, for all you mixed farmers, harvest is now over, grain stores are full and next year’s crops are planted and beginning to grow ready for the busy period next year. For our KE team, our busy period is just about to begin.

We’ve been developing content for the many pig clubs and discussion groups that we run, as well as our eagerly anticipated ‘Gilt Events’.

These events will help you focus on how to optimise the productivity of your gilts and maximise their lifetime potential. We have some great speakers for you, and I am certainly looking forward to hearing them. The meetings are free to all, so please sign up (see Pink Pages for more information).
Planning for our future KE work is also under way. We have five key themes – gilts, water, EU Pig, Electronic Medicines Book (eMB) and Focus Farm.

The Lancashire Focus Farm is proving to be a great success, with the ongoing work due to focus on gilts and tagging litters so we are able to monitor individual performance, especially in the farm’s new finisher building.

A big part of my new job in these first few weeks has been to look at how we can develop the Focus Farm concept, so I have been looking at how the other AHDB sectors work with their farmers. The term ‘Strategic Farm’ is something you may have seen described across the other sectors.

AHDB Strategic Farms use farmer-to-farmer learning to accelerate the uptake of knowledge and provide a platform for farmers to explore the potential for best practice to have an impact on their businesses, just like our Focus Farm is doing.

To this end we are going to develop some Strategic Farm projects for the pig sector over the next few months, an exciting first project for me to be working on with the team!

So, as I start to get stuck into the tasks at hand, it’s important that I meet as many of you as I can.
I want to get a real feel for what’s keeping you awake at night, what you need from your KE team and how we can work better with your business.

Your feedback is vital, so I ask that you pick up the phone and call 07973 701202, drop me an email to kate.mellor@ahdb.org.uk or simply collar me at a meeting!

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