A meat processing plant in Yorkshire may be forced to close with the loss of 59 jobs.

The Sheffield based plant of Yorkshire Premier Meat is operated by the UK’s largest farmer owned co-operative the ANM Group.

In a statement the group said: “Due to continuing difficult trading conditions in the industry, the company proposes to concentrate the majority of its activities in Yorkshire Premier Meat at its second plant in South Kirkby.”

The group added that it deeply regretted the closure proposal but pointed out that the level of losses being experienced were considered unsustainable in the current economic climate with no indication of trading patterns improving in the near future.

It added that a consultation process with the staff would begin at the Yorkshire Premier Meat processing plant over the proposal to close the site.

If the proposal goes ahead, it is possible that the closure would take place as soon as mid-February.

The Sheffield operation has been owned by the ANM Group since 1993 with the South Kirkby plant opened four years later.

“In the event of closure, a modest tonnage carried out at Sheffield will be transferred to South Kirkby while the remaining raw material supplied to Sheffield by the ANM Group-owned Scotch Premier Meat would be processed instead in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire,” the ANM Group statement said.

The ANM Group has 7,500-members and is based at the Thainstone Centre, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire.