GRIFFITH’S reputation as the chook capital of Australia is set to be strengthened with another $50 million poultry development earmarked for the region.
ProTen Ltd has announced it will build two new poultry farms in Goolgowi after Carrathool Shire Council approved the development application this month, creating at least 10 jobs for the town.
The company’s first Rankins Springs farm, which was approved in October last year, is now fully operational with the second farm expected to be up and running in the near future.
The Goolgowi development will be virtually identical to the Rankins Springs farm, according to ProTen national operations manager Richard West.
There will be 24 sheds across the two farms with an overall holding capacity of 1.3 million birds, which will be turned over six times each year.
The expansion is in response to poultry giant Baiada’s plans to double the size of its Griffith plant to process 1.2 million chickens per week.
As a result, ProTen’s development had been fast-tracked six months earlier than planned.
“What people don’t realise is this area is one of the major poultry centres for Australia,” Mr West said.
“This is going a lot faster than we thought but Baiada’s growth required that we build the farms quicker than anticipated.”
ProTen will begin construction at Goolgowi in the coming weeks with chickens expected to be installed by next June. Mr West said it would be a major economic boost for Goolgowi.
“There are a lot of local employment opportunities during the construction stage because a significant amount of the work is done by locals,” he said.
“There has been a lot of interest since the feedlot closed down.”
Mr West said Griffith was an attractive option for poultry producers because of the ready availability of grain – which was also a win for local farmers.
Carrathool Shire Council general manager Ken Croskell agreed the new development would “fill the void” left after the Tabbita Feedlot closed and would add employment options to the area that were otherwise lost.
“We see it as being an important development for the future of the area and ProTen have been a good company to work with,” Mr Croskell said.