Poultry farmer banging the drum for organic

A poultry farmer from north Wales has been named an “organic champion”, tasked with banging the drum for organic-reared chicken across the country.

Gareth Williams manages poultry units on the 5,000ha Rhug Estate, Denbighshire. He has worked on the estate for more than 30 years, beginning as an apprentice and moving up to head shepherd – before moving over to poultry five years ago.

As one of five organic champions, Mr Williams will, in a series of adverts, video diaries, blogs and recipes, tell consumers about how organic production methods differentiate.

The Rhug Estate is one of the largest organic farms in the country, and its poultry operation has expanded from about 150 broilers a week five years ago, when Mr Williams took over management, to about 550 a week today.

Speaking to Poultry World, Mr Williams said that, although small, the Rhug Estate’s poultry offering was in rude health, but he felt that the sector as a whole could do more to promote the amount of effort and extra cost that goes in to its production.

“We select breeds that are best suited to the organic methods we use and they come to us at one day old,” he said. “The feed is organic and the birds have completely free access to pasture for the whole time they are here.

“There is no doubt that our methods of farming are better for the birds quality of life, but I also think it makes a difference to the taste as well.”

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