Industry jubilant about TFI abattoir plan

TFI abattoir rebuild: Industry gives overwhelming support


The state's livestock sector has heralded Thomas Foods International's commitment to build a state-of-the-art abattoir as a game-changer.


The state's livestock sector has heralded Thomas Foods International's commitment to build a state-of-the-art, multi-species abattoir as a game-changer.

TFI chief executive officer Darren Thomas says the messages of support from across the supply chain for the Murray Bridge plans have been overwhelming.

"From farmers and livestock suppliers right across Australia to national and international customers, it's all been extremely positive," he said.

"It's really pleasing to receive this feedback - not just for our company's sake but for the meat industry in general."

A greenfield site on the Mannum Road, eight kilometres from the previous site, has been chosen for the new abattoir.

RELATED:Council hopes TFI progress not hindered by process

Joe Keynes - Livestock SA

Livestock SA president Joe Keynes said the fire was a "devastating blow" to the industry, but the rebuild would have enormous benefits across the whole supply chain, including production efficiencies and enhanced animal welfare.

"Having TFI invest in a new plant will provide surety, particularly as many producers look to rebuild numbers after drought and difficult times," he said.

"It's also in a location which is very well positioned to service the whole of the state."

Bruce Creek - SA Beef Industry Blueprint

SA Beef Industry Blueprint chairman Bruce Creek said the industry had been eagerly awaiting an announcement.

"It is something we have all been waiting to happen and while the market has held up without them, with them it will only strengthen and grow," he said.

"The newest beef works in Australia should help lower costs of production here in SA compared to everywhere else using new technology and deliver benefits back to SA producers."

Allan Piggott - SA Sheep Industry Blueprint

Allan Piggott

Allan Piggott

SA Sheep Industry Blueprint chairman Allan Piggott is excited the abattoir will include the latest technologies, such as robotics, hook tracking and objective carcase measurement.

"These technologies can provide more detailed feedback for SA producers, which will encourage continual improvement of the livestock supplied and enhance the consistent quality of the product on the supermarket shelf," he said.

He said TFI rebuilding at Murray Bridge was a real positive.

"Not only will it provide valuable employment and and an economic boost for SA, it reinforces everyone's confidence in the future of the sheepmeat industry.

"TFI's new plant will help the industry capitalise on the opportunities to grow and cater for expanding international markets."

RELATED:TFI to rebuild flagship Murray Bridge abattoir

Patrick Hutchinson - AMIC

Australian Meat Industry Council executive officer Patrick Hutchinson congratulated TFI on its bold investment.

"More and more in processing we are looking to attract engineers and other young skilled workers into the regions to operate robotics and automation - the Murray Bridge plant will be a great example to others of what can be done," he said.

Mr Hutchinson said there was an "appetite for growth" across the processing sector, especially on the short, medium and long-term demand into China, but the right government support was needed to attract labour, and address energy costs and regulatory reform.

"We all know producers are receiving record prices, beef has been up and down but it is still strong and goats are in front of that again, but beef processing margins are only at the 10-year average of about $25 a head," he said

"In 2018 it was -$14 so processors as a group are suffering at the moment."

Kev Keller - Landmark

Kev Keller

Kev Keller

Landmark Murray Bridge-based agent Kev Keller said the company had always been competitive in the market and was certain it would emerge even stronger.

"Not many companies would survive something like that let alone come back bigger and better so it is a real credit to TFI," he said.

RELATED:TFI boss opens up on fire recovery

"It is great to see them have enough faith in the agricultural industry to back themselves in during the tough times and rebuild here in SA, especially when you hear rumours that other states have offered them a lot of money to move."

He said the sheep marked had held up well despite the loss of the major facility.

"The sheep and lamb job has gone along the way it was before, with the Lobethal plant stepping up," he said.

"Cattle have suffered a bit but we have been fortunate with the timing (of the fire) with low numbers (in the market)."

Damien Webb - Elders

Elders SA livestock sales manager Damien Webb said it was great to see TFI re-committing to develop a state-of-the-art abattoir in SA.

"This will help to support SA and interstate graziers and agencies as well as the economy of Murray Bridge and SA," he said.

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