Celebrating an EPIC 50 years

It is gratifying that last years conference was able to live up to its billing – 2016 was indeed a truly epic EPIC conference!

The success of the event was a combination of excellent speakers, enthusiastic and engaged delegates and a perfect venue, all underpinned by the organisational skills of our Conference Secretary, Howard Birley, and Conference Chairman, Paul Kelly.

The keynote opening presentation was delivered by Donnie Smith, President and CEO of Tyson Foods. He explored to perfection the conference theme of celebrating what the industry has achieved in the last 50 years, and what needs to be confronted in the next 50.

The rest of the morning session heard from our Minister, George Eustice, and political and consumer commentators, Steve Richards and James Bellini, helping delegates understand some of the opportunities and pitfalls presented by Brexit.

A highlight of the day was the contribution from experts in discussing developments in various sectors of our industry over the years, followed by two “young guns” looking at the future for meat and eggs and the people working with them.

The formal conference was rounded off with an entertaining and thought provoking presentation from Heather McGregor (aka Mrs Moneypenny) who identified the individuals our industry should be “man marking” during the coming post-Brexit negotiations.
Following these excellent presentations delegates were able to relax during the evening spectacular banquet which included unique and energetic entertainment offered by the legendary voice of Dr Hook, Dennis Locorriere.

A very fitting finale to the whole conference was the opportunity to recognise and acknowledge an individual who, in the unanimous opinion of the EPIC Committee, had made the biggest and most significant contribution to our industry over the last 50 years – the honour of EPIC Person of the Last 50 Years was conferred on Derek Kelly who accepted this honour with pride and his usual humility.

The Conference has been acknowledged as a great success and the “best yet”. To complete this event, the jewel in our crown was launched with the publication of a book for delegates which attempts to set down on paper and celebrate all the key events of the last 50 years of the poultry industry. This is a unique record which must be considered a “work in progress”. The text will be lodged on our website and it is hoped that this will be built on over the years to maintain a comprehensive and meaningful acknowledgement of the great things achieved by our industry. We hope you will read, enjoy and continue to contribute to this record.

Finally, having achieved so much in 2016 this gives us much more to aim for in 2017 and beyond – watch this space!

Steve Lister
Chairman, EPIC Conference 2017