Big River Pork is set to become one of the largest pork processors in the country following a $14 million expansion at its plant in Murray Bridge, South Australia. Big River Pork Chairman Geoff Hampel said the project would enable the company to increase its production to meet a new long-term supply agreement, as consumer demand for pork continued to grow.
“Over the years the shareholders of the company have increased their volumes and they’ve gained new business in various customers around Australia,” he said. “That business has grown to a level that we will have an additional three and half thousand animals coming through the plant by the end of the year and that product will be going through the eastern seaboard.
“It’s great news not only for Big River Pork and its employees but for new employees, the town and the economy.”
Big River Pork is a major employer in the Murraylands, with a current workforce of 190 full-time equivalent positions. This will increase to a total of 330 when the expansion is expected to be completed in 2019. Mr Hampel said Big River Pork would continue to focus on the domestic market, adding the expansion would allow the company to seek more export opportunities overseas.”Pork exports have been quite low from Australia because of international pressures and the price that they can buy pork overseas,” he said.
“But we do export product to Singapore as far as carcasses are concerned and that is growing.
“We are a proud company – proud of our culture, our history, our product and this state, and we look forward to continuing to grow in South Australia.”
Government grant helps expansion
The company’s investment is being supported by the State Government through a total $900,000 grant with contributions from the Economic Investment Fund and the Regional Development Fund. Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies had estimated the expansion by Big River Pork would boost the state’s gross product by $79 million over the next 10 years.
“Today’s announcement follows last week’s release of the 2017 Trade and Investment Statement, highlighting the great strides SA made in 2016 in establishing and broadening its international engagement and connections,” he said.
“Big River Pork is already exporting to Singapore and this expansion will enable the company to seek yet more export opportunities.
“Investment Attraction South Australia’s support has ensured South Australia secured this important long-term commitment by Big River Pork to production growth and competitiveness to attract new business and the jobs that come with it, which would have otherwise gone interstate.”