This year FEDFA teamed up with the British Deer Farms & Parks Association to hold their annual conference together for two days in Bedfordshire. It was very well attended by delegates from all over Europe, the US and New Zealand.


The first morning program started with a welcome by Nigel Sampson, the BDFPA president, followed by speakers who covered a variety of topics. UK agricultural policy was covered by Member of Parliament the Rt Hon James Paice. An update on the European Industry was delivered by FEDFA president Radim Kotrba, followed by Jose Antonio who explained the value of  IVF in providing  a rapid improvement in herd genetics.  A Park Quality Assurance Scheme and a new deer Stockman course  were launched.


Although the weather could have been better, the hospitality could not have been any greater at the Woburn estate where a very enjoyable afternoon was spent by all.  It began with a drinks reception and delicious lunch hosted by His Grace the Duke of Bedford where an introduction to the park and its deer were presented. The deer manager, Dan DeBaerdemaecker, conducted a tour starting with the deer park that contains a wide variety of deer species including the famous red, the rare Pere David and the Chinese water deer.  The  tour ended at the farm where red deer brought in from the park and single sire mated. The result of this breeding was shown in a impressive antler display.


A gala dinner with venison loin on the menu, an auction and raffle ended the events of a busy and enjoyable first day.


The  second day began with a visit to the Denham Estate where fallow deer are farmed exclusively for venison to supply a quality product to the restaurant and catering trade. After a welcome by the owner Cecilia Gliksten who explained the history of the estate and its present business model, the farm manager Neil Clarke conducted a tour of the breeding herds, the holding pens and the abattoir plus a glimpse at the sheep breeding enterprise.  An enjoyable barbeque of venison and lamb burgers, apples and cider all from the estate kept everyone well fed. Again the warm hospitality was appreciated in windy wet weather.

An opportunity to take in some local sites ended the conference with an  interesting tour of the nearby city Cambridge with its ancient and famous university..  

Carolynne Ellis-Jones



Lovely photos have come in from Mrs Carolynne Ellis-Jones.
You can watch them in the gallery to the right >>>>>>>>


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