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31.05.05
Only pig abattoir and processing company in region brings home the bacon

The last few years have not been happy ones for the pig industry, but one Cornish pig producer has bucked that particular trend and as a result of some support from Business Link and Objective One investment, his family business is going from strength to strength.

In the late 1990s the Uglows, who produce pigs at Whitstone in the far reaches of North Cornwall, moved into a small unit on a local industrial estate, planning to process pigs reared on their farm into pork, bacon, ham and sausages. Within two years demand for Cornish Farmhouse Bacon Company's products had grown so fast that the business had outgrown the premises. At the same time a fire in a local abattoir had created problems getting the pigs slaughtered locally.

After some careful planning, including expert advice from Business Link the family invested in a new purpose-built abattoir and processing plant on the farm. This means that up to 150 pigs a week, sourced direct from the farm or from a neighbouring producer, can be slaughtered and processed into a wide range of pork products, helping to satisfy the growing demand for local bacon, ham and sausages.

"We do everything here now, including smoking and curing ham and bacon," Justin Uglow explained, adding that it is still very much a family business also involving his parents and brother.

"We went from being about to stop pig production on the farm, which would have made one man redundant, to building this business and bringing processing back to the farm, which employs ten full-time and another ten part-time."

Investment came through the Objective One investment programme, Rural Diversification Capital Grants Initiative (RDCGI), administered by Devon and Cornwall Business Link. Initial funding was granted for building, structural work and equipment, such as a bacon slicer and a weighing and grading machine. Later applications to the Cornwall Food and Drink programme, also run by Business Link, helped to upgrade processing machinery.

The result of this investment is a thriving business that is the only abattoir and processing company for pigs in Devon and Cornwall. "This project has helped to sustain the entire pig sector in the region by creating new outlets for their pigs that wouldn't otherwise be available," said Graham Woolcock, manager of the Cornwall Food and Drink programme. "Funding has also made it easier to meet the complex regulations surrounding the meat processing industry."

Cornish Farmhouse Bacon Company products can be found in a growing number of retail butchers, farm shops, catering businesses, delicatessens and small retail shops in Cornwall and further east as far as Exeter. The company has won a number of awards including, in 2003, the Taste of the West award for best meat product, won by the company's beech smoked bacon.

Gary Ensor, head of agriculture at Business Link agriculture, added that there are still opportunities for farm businesses to take advantage of the Objective One investment programmes, but to get the maximum effect, businesses should take advantage of the advice available from Business Link both before and after investment is agreed. "It is this approach that ensures more successful applications and more projects that run successfully post investment," he said.

For further information contact Carolyn Daw of The Marketing-PR Company Ltd on 01566 771863 or email: cdaw@marketing-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative and the Cornwall Food and Drink Programme, through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

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Editor's notes:

 

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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