Belfast Telegraph

Farmers welcome Moy Park breakthrough

By Linda Stewart

Poultry farmers have welcomed news that Moy Park Poultry is to hold its first meeting with O’Kane growers.

The company acquired O’Kane Poultry earlier this year as growers were struggling with the broiler chicken farming system overseen by O’Kane’s.

At the time, poultry farmers using O’Kane’s system said they were having trouble covering costs following a disastrous drop in bird performance.

All birds, feed, and bedding were supplied to the farmers by the company as part of a “vertically-integrated” system, but birds were failing to thrive, resulting in a drastic drop in returns.

Growers were critical of the company for refusing to meet with them and discuss the problems.

Ulster Farmers Union president John Thompson said the meeting is a positive development.

“Back in May, O’Kane growers packed a Ballymena hotel for a crisis meeting organised by the UFU, and there have been a number of developments since,” he said.

“Moy Park’s acquisition of O’Kane has been completed, and we are hopeful that this will lead to a profitable future for all those involved in the production of poultry meat in Northern |Ireland.”

In recent months the UFU has met on several occasions with elected O’Kane grower representatives and O’Kane management, giving growers the chance to air their issues. Follow-up meetings were also arranged with feed company representatives and nutritionists.

After a series of meetings between the elected Broiler Committee and O’Kane Poultry, there has been agreement that a new contract will supersede the existing contract when it has been agreed and finalised,” Mr Thompson said.

Belfast Telegraph