Coolwynds Farm in County Tyrone has developed a free range egg laying unit housing 16,000 birds for £470,000, partly financed by Ulster Bank through the Funding for Lending scheme. The new facility provides the farm with an additional income stream to their traditional suckler cow business.
Cormac McKervey, Senior Agricultural Manager, Ulster Bank says that a year on from the introduction of The Welfare of Laying Hens Directive, those producers who have invested in their cages to ensure they are compliant are seeing opportunities in the market.
"The major GB retailers and multi-nationals are now only selling eggs from fully compliant producers which gives local farmers who have made the investment a significant advantage," he says.
"We have supported many growers, both new to the sector and existing customers, who have expanded or upgraded their facilities and with local egg suppliers building strong markets across Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland we see further opportunity for steady growth in the sector."
Coolwynds Farm is one of hundreds of businesses in Northern Ireland which have drawn on money through the Bank of England and HM Treasury Funding for Lending Scheme. The scheme has been used by Ulster Bank to remove arrangement fees and cut the interest rate on eligible business loans by 1%, potentially saving customers a significant sum of money.
Ulster Bank has been a leading provider of lending to the poultry sector and is strongly focused on supporting its farming and business customers.
David George, Ulster Bank Business Development Manager, works closely with David and Andrew Brady from Coolwynds Farm. He says: “Maximising the resources and space available to generate sustainable returns is important for any business and we are confident this diversification will be an extremely productive long-term investment for Coolwynds Farm.”
The new unit at Coolwynds Farm will produce eggs for leading egg processor, Erne Eggs, with all the bird feed sourced from another local supplier, Fane Valley.
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