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Gildernew welcomes Dale Farm investment

5 March, 2008


Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA officially opened the latest phase of investment at Dale Farm's Dunmanbridge factory in Cookstown.

The £2.1million cheese and whey processing facilities were part funded by the EU Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme administered by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with Invest NI providing national funding. The new equipment increases cheese production capacity to 20,000 tonnes per annum and expands whey processing facilities at the Dunmanbridge site.

The Minister complimented Dale Farm on their investment programme, saying that:

"This investment demonstrates a very high degree of confidence in our local dairy farmers and Dale Farm's workforce. I congratulate United Dairy Farmers and Dale Farm for their foresight and commitment to the future of the local dairy industry, which makes such an important contribution to employment and the future sustainability of rural areas."

The EU Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme has now been superseded by the new Forestry and Agriculture Processing and Marketing Grant (PMG) Scheme. The scheme is worth £21.5million and forms part of the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme which is part-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The new scheme will be available to a wide range of small to intermediate sized businesses that are either involved or wishing to become involved in the processing and marketing of agricultural, horticultural or forestry products. This includes processors, groups of producers and individual producers.

The PMG scheme encourages the agriculture, horticulture and forestry sectors to become more competitive, to respond to customer demand, to be more innovative and to add value to their produce. The scheme provides support towards capital investment including the construction of new buildings, the refurbishment of old buildings and the purchase of new equipment for the processing of primary products.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. The EU Agricultural Processing and Marketing Grants were made under Council Regulation (EC) No. 1257/1999. Grant aid was at a rate of up to 40%, comprising 35% from the EU (subject to a maximum of £0.5million) and 5% from national funds.
  2. The Scheme closed for new applications in October 2006.
  3. The new Forestry and Agriculture Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme opened for applications in December 2007.

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