AHDB insists staff turnover ‘not affecting delivery’

AHDB Pork has stressed that its capacity to deliver key services for levy payers has been unaffected by the high staff turnover it is currently experiencing.

The levy body has seen the departure of a number of high profile figures over the past year or so, including: Stephen Howarth (market specialist at AHDB, joined Agricultural Engineers Association), Martin Smith (veterinary, BQP), Steve Winfield (knowledge exchange, Hipra), Katja Stoddart (welfare, Defra), Lucy Coyne (veterinary, Liverpool University) and Emily Bailey-Beech (food safety, Integra). Other well-known figures, including Sue Rabbich (environment) and some still to be officially announced, are due to depart soon.

The loss of all this expertise in a relatively short time has prompted some concern among levy payers over AHDB’s ability to deliver on its ambitious three-year strategy.

But an AHDB spokesperson said all but one of the recent leavers had been replaced, while the process of recruiting those about to leave was underway. She highlighted the appointment of Mandy Nevel, a well-known and experienced figure, in the senior veterinary role as an example the high calibre of the replacements, alongside some additional new recruits. “There are no gaps in what we are planning to deliver,” she said.

AHDB strategy director Mick Sloyan, who, himself, retires in July, leaving another big hole to fill, said AHDB recognised that the loss of some familiar faces was causing concern in the industry. He said: “AHDB is committed to the continued development of existing staff and the recruitment of new in order to deliver a top quality service to our levy payers.

“AHDB is fortunate to attract talent from a wide network, including those with an academic background, professionals, such as vets and economists, and those experienced in the many facets of industry.

“Staff turnover is a fact of life and can be a challenge, particularly when high profile individuals move on. However, more often than not, those leaving further their careers within the pig sector, to its benefit. AHDB is proud employers are keen to offer jobs to our people and see this as testament to the calibre of the individuals working here.”

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.