Belfast Telegraph

Farm packaging firm's eggs-ellent outlook with £500k DARD grant

By Clare Weir

A Co Armagh firm is reaping the rewards of a half a million pound grant from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Under DARD's Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme, which opens again towards the end of the year, financial support up to £0.5m can be provided for capital investment in buildings and plant and equipment for business working in the agri food processing sector.

Family firm R Thompson -amp; Son (Armagh) Ltd, also known as Farmlay Eggs put the funding boost towards the purchase and installation of new modern egg packing and grading equipment costing over £1m.

The 90-year-old egg packing business is currently being operated by the third and fourth generations of the Thompson family - father, mother, son and daughter - and works closely with local egg producers, assisting them at all stages and offering NVQ level 3 training to help ensure a consistent supply of quality eggs.

Agriculture minister Michelle O'Neill said that the PMG scheme is to helping the processing sector to develop and remain competitive in the market place.

"The first awards under the current scheme were made in 2008 and to date funding of £12.5m has been approved to 50 projects across the north," she said.

"This investment has been and will continue to be essential in helping to grow future our already flourishing agri food sector.

"The funding awarded to Farmlay Eggs is an excellent example of how my department can work with companies to help them invest in new plant and equipment that will improve efficiencies and quality.

"This business has strong links with local egg producers and this investment will help secure the growth of this long established family business and its farmer suppliers."