Plans submitted for £75m cull sow pork plant in Northern Ireland

Plans have been submitted for a new £75m pork processing plant in Northern Ireland that will specialise in cull sows.

The company behind the proposed plant in Ballymoney, County Antrim, is Bannside Foods, a new name in the pork industry, the BBC reports. The proposed site is the former home of the Lovell and Christmas bacon factory, which burned down in 1998.

There is no dedicated facility for cull sows in Northern Ireland, with farmers currently having to send them to Britain, the Republic of Ireland or into Europe.

Planning proposals have been submitted to Causeway Coast and Glens Council, with a 12-week public consultation on the plans underway.

Johann Muldoon, the architect behind the project, said it was an ‘ambitious plan’ that could create 350 to 400 direct jobs and 2,000 indirect jobs.

“It will future proof an industry that has been hard hit in the last number of years plus any new jobs should be welcomed,” she told the BBC.

“One of the key concerns with Brexit was the access to migrant labour – this plant will see changes to the nature of that and will link in to apprenticeships and training in the tech side of business, but there will be the other side of things that are less tech savvy.”

Glenn Cuddy, the chair of the Ulster Farmer’s Union Pork and Bacon Committee, said having a local processor will make things easier for him.

“It’ll mean more competition in the market for pigs,” said Mr Cuddy, who keeps 300 sows at his farm in County Tyrone.

“There’s always problems moving sows – our sows usually have to go across the water into the mainland, or else to the Republic, and with borders and all there’s always problems, so it’s welcome news that there might be a plant that could do cull sows in the future.”

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.