BROUGHSHANE man, Peter Morgan, has been an employee of Moy Park for almost 40 years and still maintains 'every day is a school day'.
Peter is the Agri Business Technical Manager at the Larne Road site.
As Moy Park celebrates 75 years in business this year, Peter reflects on personal milestones and discusses how the agri sector has changed during this time.
Speaking to the Guardian, eter said: “I finished college in 1981 and joined the O’Kane Poultry team after studying agriculture and gaining a HND in Poultry Husbandry.
"I always enjoyed the outdoor life and thought a career in food production would be beneficial in the long term as society became more attuned to food demand and supply issues."
Peter's first role in O’Kane was as a Broiler Advisory Officer, which involved helping farmers with their bird management and ensuring they were producing good, quality chicken.
"I was later made Manager of the Broiler Growing Operation in 1989 and took on additional responsibilities in 1995 as Manager for Broiler, Breeder and Hatcheries.
"Nearly 30 years later after Moy Park acquired O’Kane in 2010, I took on my current position as Agri Business Technical Manager," Peter explained.
In this role, Peter is responsible for ensuring they are compliant with all operating procedures, using only approved products across the farming supply base and helping farmers achieve excellence in what they do."
Peter continued: "As you can imagine, there has been significant advances in research and development over the course of my career, which keeps us at the forefront of bird health and welfare, sustainability, product quality, food safety and value for money.
"For example, reducing campylobacter has been a top priority for not only the poultry industry, but in particular Moy Park. "This is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK.
"We have heavily invested in research throughout the production chain and we have already implemented new ideas such as hot water heating, double barrier changing facilities in each house and other technologies which we firmly believe have had a major impact in reducing the number of our birds which can become infected with Campylobacter.
"Furthermore, we are focusing on excellence in biosecurity and innovative processing technologies."
Controlling infectious disease in poultry is an ongoing challenge Moy Park face, in particular avian influenza (AI). To address this, they have upgraded their AI contingency planning, rewriting the rulebook in the past year to ensure they have a robust plan in place.
"We have to think carefully how we would react and prevent spread if AI came in to Northern Ireland and together with agencies and Government departments we exchange views regularly with working groups, in order to remain on top of this key issue," Peter said.
Over his 40 years with the company Peter said a key highlight has been promoting ownership and pride with the people he works closely with.
"A back to basics approach is one of my fundamental pillars, and I still firmly believe that bird husbandry and welfare are key to producing a high-quality product.
"There are endless opportunities for those considering a career in agriculture and food production, and as my wife and son also work in the poultry industry, I can definitely vouch for that!
"As the world population continues to expand, the demand for goods also increases and food production, and those working in the industry, will have to keep up with this development.
"By strengthening our production capabilities over the past number of years, we are well placed to meet this demand, with poultry a healthy and versatile source of protein which is also good value for money."
Peter concluded: "As I look back on my time in the industry and at Moy Park, I’ve always started each morning the same way, and I think it has stood me in good stead!
"The first thing I think of is ‘today will bring a new challenge, a new opportunity and I will most likely learn something new’ as every day is a school day!”