UFU's animal tag firm given green light for new £2.5m Tyrone facility
A Northern Ireland farming company has been granted planning approval to open a £2.5m base near Dungannon with the potential to create 40 new jobs.
Countryside Services Ltd (CSL), which is ultimately owned by the Ulster Farmers' Union, offers commercial and professional services to the farming and rural community across NI.
Mid Ulster District Council has signed off on its plan for a new facility at the Granville industrial hub near Dungannon, which is already home to major agri-firms such as Dunbia and Linden Foods.
The new CSL building will include a laboratory, offices and tag production unit, as well as a packaging storage and distribution facility.
CSL, currently based at Moy Road, Dungannon, said the expansion is necessary to meet demand for its livestock identification tags across Northern Ireland and the rest of UK.
The company said its Flexo tag system has rapidly grown in terms of market demand.
Improvements in the design of livestock tags have been reflected in new figures from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
The data revealed that the 219,816 replacement livestock tags sold in Northern Ireland during 2018 was 26,000 (12%) down on the 2016 figure.
According to the UFU, led by president Ivor Ferguson, the average cost of replacing a single tag is currently £3.25 (plus VAT).
It's understood that the UFU, with the backing of economic development agency Invest NI, will support the new facility through funding.
In documents submitted to the Planning Service, Invest NI said it could provide the site for the new facility at the Granville Industrial Estate.
In its planning submission, Countryside Services described itself as "the epitome of a small rural business" that requires a rural location.
It said: "The location and wider Granville area is conductive to this type of business complemented by adjacent businesses that specialise in the agricultural and agri-food sector."
CSL was set up by the UFU in 1998.
As well as being involved in animal tagging, the firm also distributes the Farm Business Improvement Scheme, a multi-million-pound Government funding pot which assists farmers in upgrading equipment and machinery.
The company recorded a £2m turnover in 2017.