On Tuesday 30th June, we welcomed over 400 of our
producers and their families, alongside several representatives of Waitrose to
the JCB Visitor Centre at the JCB World Headquarters in Staffordshire, for our
annual producers Open Day.
With our usual Open Days taking place on one of our
producers holdings, this year’s event was a unique change to the usual format,
offering producers not only the chance to interact with one another and the
Dovecote Park team, but the opportunity for an insight into the fascinating
history of the country’s oldest and most successful independent businesses.
The day began with the producers gathering at the Visitors Centre;
whereupon they were divided into two groups each getting a chance to see the
‘Story of JCB’ exhibition and production facilities, as well as the historic
Wootton Lodge Estate.
Each group were treated to a guided coach tour of the JCB
farms of Wootton Lodge Estate, a 4,500 acre site containing arable land,
woodland, deer, sheep and both Aberdeen Angus and South Devon cattle. Wootton
Lodge has been privately owned by the Bamford family for over 50 years and shares
a long history with Dovecote Park.
While at Wootton Lodge, the visitors were welcomed by Cattle
Procurement Manager Kate Sutton and Commercial
Director Laurie Ibbotson, before
being given an insight into the current market by Andrew Allchurch from Waitrose. An excellent lunch – with two beef
options provided by Dovecote – was served at the visitors centre before the groups
commenced the second portion of the day.
The JCB portion of the visit began with a wander through
time at the 2,500m ‘Story of JCB’ exhibition, an interactive journey through
the history of the JCB corporation – from the agricultural background of the
Bamford family in the late 19th century through Joseph Cyril
Bamfords creation of the company in 1945 right up to the present day JCB – one
of the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturers, with 22 factories
across four continents, and a workforce of over 10,000.
The exhibition was
highly enjoyable, displaying for visitors the changes in size, technology and
marketing seen by the company over the past 70 years.Following on from the
exhibition, the team were taken on a factory tour, and given the opportunity to
witness first-hand JCB’s impressive production facilities, and to see machinery
assembled right in front of them.
This year’s Open Day was our biggest to date, and we were
delighted to see how engaged the producers were with the estate and exhibition.
Dovecote Park would like to extend our gratitude towards every one of producers
who took the time out of their busy schedules to join us for the day, as well
as to the Waitrose representatives for their attendance, our Livestock team for
their hard work in organising and coordinating the event, and of course, to the
teams at JCB and Wootton Lodge Estate for their kind hospitality and expertise.