Farmers Weekly Awards 2006

Tony Burgess is the Poultry World Poultry Farmer of the Year. Here’s why he won:

How do you differentiate a basic commodity from its competitors? Tony Burgess is the man to ask and he will answer this question with flair, authority and enthusiasm. With over 25 years of experience under his belt, this self-made poultry producer holds his head up high, waving the Welsh flag with pride.

With no previous poultry experience, Tony moved into farming with ease, learning from the challenges that arose while at the same time responding to consumer trends.

By dedicating three years of his life to running the farm and spending the remaining hours, in the evenings and weekends, studying for a BA Honours in Business, Tony proved his commitment to the family-run business and highlighted a marketing strength that sets him apart from his rivals.

Under a planned and well-researched strategy, Tony transformed a basic commody – the egg – into a regional, unique and profitable product.

As a small producer, he has used this marketing tool to build a successful free-range egg production business, which is now able to compete with the more powerful egg producers and packers.

Not only has Tony successfully created a “local” product, but he has also taken the business forward on an extremely welfare-friendly route. So much so, that he built a special perspex screening area in the poultry house for visitors to view the RSPCA Freedom Food free-range flocks.

“Everything we do here I want the public to see. Welfare is the most important aspect of our business,” he said. Tony is so confident about the high welfare standards on his unit that he gives his customers an open invitation to visit the poultry sheds at any time.

So what tricks does the Welsh marketer have left up his sleeve? Well there is the price promotions, partnership marketing, further innovative packaging designs, farmers’ markets, trade shows and events, a bi-monthly newsletter, continued market research, customer service telesales, LANTRA free-range egg production training days, visits by farmers’ clubs and university students, point-of-sale material and recipe books. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

But, as Tony will argue, every little helps to raise the business’ Welsh profile. And the magic seems to be working.

So what tricks does the Welsh marketer have up his sleeve for the coming years?

Well there is the price promotions, partnership marketing, further innovative packaging designs, farmers’ markets, trade shows and events, a bi-monthly newsletter, continued market research, customer service telesales, LANTRA free-range egg production training days, visits by farmers clubs and university students, point of sale material and recipe books.

It’s exhausting just thinking about it! But as Tony will argue, every little helps to raise the business’ Welsh profile. And the magic seems to be working.

With ongoing plans to continue increasing turnover and profitability, Tony has a long-term aim of getting a foothold in the supermarket chains, while building up his catering customers.

Runners up:
• Robert Lanning, Honiton, Devon
Bucking trends is what Robert does best. At only 34 he expanded the business from 3 bantams to 2.5m broilers annually

• Nigel Williams, Aylesbury, Bucks
The foresight to move into organic egg production before others is reaping rewards for this family-run business of 23,000 layers.

Back to full Farmers Weekly Awards 2006 listing