Beacon of the day | Ian Banks Awarded For Starting Egg Farmers Association

Ian Banks, founding president of the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association

Founding President of the Egg Farmers Association of Jamaica, Ian Banks, has been awarded for his vital service towards the development of the local agricultural body.

He headed the association for the first 10 years of its existence.

“It is nice to be recognized for meaningful contribution in anything one does in life,” he told The Beacon after accepting the award at the association’s annual general meeting in St Ann last Friday.

“It was a surprise, but it was very very meaningful and I felt very humbled by being given this award for contribution to the egg industry,” Banks added.

Ian Banks collects his award during the Jamaica Egg Farmers’ annual general meeting

He, along with a small group of egg farmers, started the association in 1998 to connect and represent egg farmers across the island.

“When we formed the association, there was no representative body of its kind at the time,” he explained. “Regulating the importation [of eggs] is one of the key things we achieved on behalf of egg farmers to ensure that local farmers don’t face unnecessary competition from overseas producers.”

One of the egg farmers who has been working with Banks since the association was established is Mark Campbell, who is now the group’s acting president.

He said: “Mr Banks brought a sense of structure. He was very methodical about how he went about doing eggs; he was among the first to brand his eggs and he was among the first to transport his eggs in a refrigerated vehicle.”

Acting President of the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association, Mark Campbell, speaks highly of the group’s founder Ian Banks during the association’s annual general meeting this month

Campbell added that, although Banks has left the association and is no longer an egg farmer, he continues to support the group.

“The years immediately after his departure from the business, he helped anybody who called him for advice and that sort of thing because he was very knowledgeable and had a standard for whatever he did. He has a high standard and so we owe him a lot,” Campbell declared.

Banks, in the meantime, told The Beacon that farming is his calling.

“It is what I wanted to do from an early age,” said the alumnus of Meadowbrook Preparatory School and Wolmer’s Boys School.

A delighted Ian Banks strikes a pose with his award

With a commitment to pursue a career in farming, the Kingston native matriculated to Iowa State University in the United States, where he pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science.

He later founded Chippenham Park Eggs, a farm he operated at Bamboo district in St Ann.

After 21 years in egg production, Banks shifted his focus to cattle rearing and forestry. He also ventured into the production of cash crops such as plantains, potatoes and coffee.

The 62-year-old, who has been in agriculture for more than 30 years, now lives on his farm with his family.

By Jamar Grant, Jamaica Beacon Journalist


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