Hereford broiler breeder farm manager Nicholas Ham is the winner of the 2013 Zoetis Trainee of the Year Award.
He was presented with the award, which includes a £2,000 training grant, by DEFRA farming minister George Eustice at the British Poultry Council’s annual awards ceremony at the House of Commons.
The award, which recognises ability, enthusiasm and commitment to training, is sponsored by Zoetis in conjunction with the British Poultry Council and Poultry World.
Mr Ham runs a 35,000-broiler breeder unit belonging to Cargill Meats Europe at Broadmoor Common, near Hereford. He worked on the site for just two years before being promoted to the top spot.
References in his application described him variously as “an outstanding candidate”, a “valued member of the team”, and praised his “excellent stockmanship skills”.
Agricultural assessor at training provider Poultec, Kieron Long, said: “Nicholas is just the type of person the industry needs for the future. A lot of the managers today will be retiring in the next few years and the industry will need younger people with his skills to fill these roles.”
Mr Ham says his ambition is to move around different sectors, perhaps ending up as a fieldsman or an area manager within the next few years.
He plans to spend the training grant on moving beyond his current Level 3 work-based diploma in agriculture, as well as completing some short courses on bird health, disease and perhaps postmortem.
The two runners-up were Danny Ashley, described as a “key member” at the Aviagen turkey hatchery in Grantham, and Steve McMorrine, a farm manager for 2 Agriculture’s Almondale Poultry Farm, near Broxburn. Both were highly commended by judges.