Farmers Weekly Awards 2022: Farmworker of the Year

Mel Jackson of Clive Soanes Broilers, Yorkshire is Farmers Weekly’s Farmworker of the Year.

“Integral to the successful running of Clive Soanes Broilers” is how Mel Jackson’s boss describes her, and it only takes a quick look at some of her achievements at this thriving Yorkshire poultry business to understand why.

Mel actually started on the meat processing side of the business about 30 years ago, overseeing bird planning, welfare and health and safety, before leaving to take a short break.

But, after the appointment of Claire Wright as managing director of the broiler growing side of the business, she was easily tempted back to take up a new role – that of poultry and farms supervisor.

See also: Farmers Weekly Awards: 2022 shortlist announced

Full of determination and with an ability to get on with just about everyone, it was not long before she was making her mark.

But Mel is very much “hands on” with a flexible approach, making her the ideal candidate when a vacancy suddenly appeared to run one of the company’s six broiler units.

With no previous experience, she threw herself into the challenge, learning on the job, putting in the hours, and seeking answers to every question.

Attention to detail

As well as great attention to detail – “Mel has a stockman’s eye and can see any small differences between her birds on a daily basis,” says Claire.

Mel’s affable personality has helped her develop great working relationships with other site managers and professionals who visit the farms, such as vets and nutritionists.

With a determination to achieve the highest standards, she has also undertaken online training courses off her own bat, and persuaded other site managers to do likewise.

A plain-speaking Yorkshire girl who is not frightened to challenge the farm managers, she has won the respect of all around her, through her no-nonsense attitude and willingness to do any job she sees needs doing.

“There is no one who will support the farm managers more than Mel,” says Claire.

5 things that make Mel Jackson the 2022 Farmers Weekly Farmworker of the Year

  • Shows great initiative and a willingness to get any job done
  • Positive influence on those who work around her, encouraging others to do the best they can
  • Has earned the respect of other staff in the company at whatever level through her hands-on approach
  • Motivated by a desire for self-improvement, undertaking training and stepping up to any challenge.
  • A “natural” with poultry, watching birds closely, responding to their changing needs and always having bird welfare at the front of her concerns

Sponsor’s message

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“Mel’s perseverance and hard-working attitude shines bright. Her ingenuity alongside her dedication to animal welfare is truly inspiring, making Mel a very deserving winner of the Farmworker of the Year Award” 

Darren Layard, vice-president, international markets, Rocky Brands, The Original Muck Boot Co

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