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Abattoir set for launch

Paul Leonard, Livestock Manger for Thomas Foods International at the North Bourke Abattior. Photo Twh

The date has finally been set for the opening of the North Bourke small stock abattoir.

On September 19, the switch hits ‘on’.

Livestock Manager for Thomas Foods International, Paul Leonard, said the date was ‘locked and loaded’ and the processing facility is ready to begin processing.

“The first week will be trial kills and there might only be 100 or 200 in the first couple of days, but we expect 500 per day onwards in the first week,” Mr Leonard said.

“We’ll then see up to 700 or 800 a day as we work towards our US licence so that we have market access.

“It will take up to eight weeks to get the licenses we require to turn it up full bore to 3000 a day, and up until then we’ll process a couple of thousand a week.

“We’ll build it through those weeks and market the product domestically through our strong domestic business in Australia as we work towards full capacity,” Mr Leonard said.

The North Bourke plant has had a rough start.

It was built in 2018 with private, and federal funding and promised employment and training for local people.

However, the facility did not reach anything like full capacity, due to the prolonged drought, followed by heavy rain which made transport and access difficult, and then COVID restrictions, which limited the labour supply.

Earlier this year, Thomas Foods International in South Australia bought the facility to add to their already successful nationwide operations. The company is a major exporter with access to markets in Asia, North America and Europe and Mr Leonard said the goal now was to reach full production capacity to supply those markets.

“We will be working towards our US licence by October, perhaps early November,” he said.

“North America is major market for goatmeat, but it will take time for all the microbial testing and other requirements to be met. The facility will be inspected by government representatives of the USDA to make sure it is compliant.

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