Having faced a challenging few years, pig and poultry producers will be well ready to look to a more positive future at this years 'Pig & Poultry Fair', a biannual, free to attend event which offers attendees a place to share information, ideas and strategies for recovery.

From the shortage in pig processing to avian influenza, and now soaring input costs, managing farm businesses at a time of such extreme volatility is both difficult and highly stressful, says Roly Taplin, chief operating officer at RASE.

“It can be tempting to batten down the hatches and concentrate on the farm alone at times like these – but in truth it’s even more important to get out, meet people, share the load and find new inspiration.”

This year’s British Pig & Poultry Fair – the first in four years – offers an ideal opportunity for producers to meet friends and make new business acquaintances. And its comprehensive forum programme will tackle the thorny subjects of pig, poultry and egg market outlooks, as well as ways to improve farm efficiencies and reducing carbon emissions.

Input costs across all species are currently incredibly high, making performance optimisation more important than ever, says Danny Johnson, general manager at ABN, which is partnering the Fair. “If you can make small gains it has a big impact. Managing performance and efficiencies has real value in the current environment so listening to the technical sessions to get new ideas will be useful.”

RASE recently launched its Farm of the Future: Journey to Net Zero report, which it commissioned to show what farmers can achieve by applying the latest science and taking practical steps to decarbonise the industry. “Farmers have a key role to play in developing a more circular, resource-efficient rural economy but they need help and support to do so,” says Mr Taplin. “I’m confident that there will be plenty of both on offer, within the forum programme and among our valued exhibitors.”

With 335 exhibitors and around 10,000 visitors attending, there is bound to be something for everyone, whether that’s business advice or new products to improve farm efficiencies. Indeed, there will be over 60 new products on display, from free farrowing systems to probiotics and low power lighting to litter conditioners.

Rob Mutimer, who farms 750 outdoor sows in Norfolk and is chairman of the National Pig Association, will be looking out for feed options, especially with the withdrawal of zinc from the diet. “It’s also a good chance to see the building manufacturers; we are having to modify plans for investment due high costs right now but we know we will be investing in due course, so it is good to plan for that.”

The Fair is also hosting an industry support hub to offer a helping hand to those who might be struggling. The Addington Fund, Farming Community Network, RABI and YANA will be on hand to share advice and resources.

“With all the challenges the industry is facing, it’s so important to touch base and meet people,” says Aimee Mahony, chief poultry adviser at the NFU. “Producers can also visit the trade stands to learn about new technology and innovation to take back to their own business. It’s quite unique having everything in one place.”

The British Pig & Poultry Fair takes place at Stoneleigh Park on May 10-11. For more information and to book your free ticket visit www.pigandpoultry.org.uk.