From a young age, Ivory Arden had a passion for poultry and an eagerness for enterprise. At just nine years old, she started rearing rare breed chickens in her garden and eventually went on to rear over 4,000 partridges for the local shoot. It was clear that Ivory was destined for a career in the poultry industry.
In 2015, the Lincolnshire arable farm where Ivory was raised diversified to financially accommodate Ivory’s desire to join the business. Today, Ivory is a free-range egg producer, running a family farm with 128,000 free-range hens. In 2020, she was nominated for the National Egg & Poultry Awards Young Farmer of the Year, highlighting her dedication and commitment to the industry.
Despite her success, Ivory has faced challenges within the industry due to her gender and age. She has expressed feeling ignored and treated differently than her male counterparts. "I do feel sometimes I get treated a bit differently from the men on the farm, as people just assume that the men are in charge. I have been ignored a few times even after approaching them myself; I don’t know if that’s purely because I’m a woman or because I’m young."
However, Ivory has persevered and continues to inspire others with her work. As she says, "If you put the work in, you can achieve anything regardless of your age or gender."
In 2021, she was highlighted as one of the Poultry Network's 'New entrants to poultry production blazing a trail in the sector.' Ivory is also involved in the Poultry Industry Programme, which aims to engage and encourage the next generation to join the poultry industry. She recently participated in a Farmers for Schools training session, where she and other members developed skills on how to carry out an assembly to primary and secondary school students on a topic of their choice. "Hopefully, it will encourage more young people to join the industry."
In October 2022, Ivory was awarded 'Egg Producer of the Year Over 64K Hens’ at the BFREPA Awards, where she delivered a passionate speech about resilience, emphasising the importance of learning from each other and sharing best practices to improve the industry as a whole.
BFREPA Awards winners @ivoryarden Twitter
Today, Ivory single-handedly manages 128,000 birds across four units, with 10 part-time staff. At Ivory's farm, welfare is at the forefront of their operations. Her birds are housed on a Vencomatic Veranda Gallery Double system, “The birds move around the system a lot better, and they seem to perch more.”
She also uses Prinzen PR100 packing equipment, which she said "The packing equipment is fantastic, speeding up packing time, making it less labour-intensive and giving more time to be with the hens."
Ivory Arden is an inspiration to all aspiring poultry farmers, especially women and young people. Her hard work, dedication, and passion for the industry have led her to remarkable success, and she continues to pave the way for future generations to join the poultry sector.