24 August 2000
SUPPORTERS of a new Welsh livestock procurement co-op, with joint venture meat processing, claim strong farmer backing for their plans.
They say most of the 700 producers who sent money to an earlier marketing initiative, which failed to attract the 250,000 minimum needed, have agreed to transfer their 250 investments to a new co-operative.
“We are particularly encouraged by the number of cheques we are receiving from farmers who did not support the original Welsh Meat Company concept,” said Wrexham farmer John Davies, chairman of the provisional management board.
“I am confident we will get the 200,000 needed to establish Welsh Livestock Ltd. This registered co-op could then tap into EU Objective 1 funds to build new joint venture processing facilities.”
A successful launch was also expected to attract significant investment from Powys-based Wynnstay and Clwyd Farmers, and from the Clynderwyn and Cardiganshire Farmers Co-operative.
If membership grew to 2000 within two years the co-op should be able to apply for the 340,000 originally set aside by the Welsh Development Agency to help the aborted Welsh Meat Company project.
Letters sent to potential farmer investors suggest that joint ventures with three well-established meat companies would aim to add value to Welsh lamb and beef, especially difficult-to-sell forequarters. The meat companies would provide the processing expertise, while co-op investors would get a share of the profits.
This week Mr Davies said negotiations were well advanced. Sites in north and south Wales were already earmarked for development.