Chicken producers meet with troubled 2 Sisters

Posted on 12 Dec 2013 by Tim Brown

Chicken producers affected by restructuring at the 2 Sister plants at Letham and Coupar Angus met with the troubled company yesterday.

Scottish growers impacted by the recent announcement have formed the Scottish Chicken Growers Association (SCGA) to represent the views of those involved.

Issues the group said they wished to discuss with 2 Sisters included regional cost variations, catching, haulage and feed.

The group hope these negotiations will lead to a stronger poultry sector for Scotland in the long-term.

SCGA has been created with the support of Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) in the last few days and represents producers who supply both Letham and Coupar Angus plants.

At a NFU Scotland meeting at Lochter on Monday a defined position was agreed by the group with those unable to attend contacted on the proposal to ensure complete buy-in from members.

NFUS president Nigel Miller said: “We can appreciate that from a business perspective, 2 Sisters and 2 Agri are under significant pressure and this will be a very difficult period with staff under notice both at Coupar Angus and within 2 Sisters.

“However, the position of independent chicken producers in Scotland is equally uncertain and all face termination of contracts. All these producers committed to significant investment and skills to meet demands for high-welfare, conventional, free range or organic chicken.”

Mr Miller said the union had been in talks with major retailers who have ‘made it clear’ there is a demand for fresh Scottish chicken and for some specialist free range and organic birds.

“There is potential to grow the required volumes to as many as 1.4 million birds per week if total Scottish consumption was supplied by home producers,” he added.

“The present survival plan from 2 Sisters may see less than half of that production contributed from Scotland’s farms and processing plants. There is clear potential to rebuild volumes in Scotland.”