After nearly thirty years producing free range eggs, producer John Widdowson will soon be closing the popholes for the final time on his family farm in Devon. But John is not exiting an industry that he has "loved being involved in" and will join Hy-Line UK as Technical Consultant.
John will be a familiar face to many producers for he was a founding member of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association and the original editor of its monthly magazine, the Ranger. He was also one of the first producers to recognise the welfare benefits associated with providing overhead shade on the range and his tree planting endeavours led to the launch of the Woodland Egg brand in Sainsbury's.
As for his decision to retire from egg production, John said: "Like all producers, we've had our ups and downs but overall the job has been kind to us and our business has been a success. However, after 29 years in operation, it's perhaps not surprising that our site needs significant reinvestment so the time now seems right to take this step.
"I always envisaged when this day arrived I would seek a role in the wider egg industry and Hy-Line was a natural choice. I've had a long association with the company and the breed has played a key part in our success – in fact we haven't had any other bird on the farm for over 10 years. I'm absolutely delighted to be joining what is a very friendly and dynamic team at Hy-Line UK." John's main role will be to provide additional support to the company's extensive technical team.
Commenting on John's appointment, Hy-Line UK's Managing Director Omead Serati said: "I've known John for many years and he has always demonstrated a sound knowledge of free range egg production. Furthermore, he has a proven track record of achieving consistently good results from the Hy-Line Brown. We are very pleased to welcome John onboard and his experience will be put to good use, particularly as we continue to see the trend towards cage-free systems."