Dairy giant unveils new 'Brexit-proof' milk plant
IRISH dairy giant LacPatrick has unveiled a 'Brexit-proofing' technology centre in Co Tyrone in a £30m investment creating 20 new jobs.
The site at Artigarvan near Strabane has now doubled its capacity, and will be able to make two new milk powder products for export.
LacPatrick was formed three years ago following a merger between Town of Monaghan Co-Operative - which had a long history of taking milk from Northern Ireland farmers - and Co Derry's Ballyrashane Co-Operative.
Its Artigarvan site employs 70 staff, with LacPatrick Dairies employing over 300 staff in total.
"The new dairy technology centre at Artigarvan will provide security of capacity for local dairy farmers producing milk to the highest standards," said Gabriel D'Arcy, chief executive of LacPatrick.
"The plant provides long-term security to our supplier base and positions the business at the forefront of global dairy technologies.
"We are now able to produce two new lines of milk powder for international markets with the dairy technology centre able to process milk all-year round."
Mr D'Arcy said the "core logistical risk" of Brexit has been mitigated by the Artigarvan expansion.
A spokesman added: "As an exporter out of the UK, LacPatrick will be closely monitoring the trading agreements being negotiated by the UK."
Mr D'Arcy added: "We will be focused on driving product development, building relationships with processors seeking access to our technology and expanding our customer base in Asia and the Middle East.
"We have made a significant capital investment with the clear purpose of delivering a sustainable return to our suppliers over the coming months and years ahead."