A leading Scottish free range egg farmer has embarked on plans to double production thanks to Clydesdale Bank.
James Baxter, who was recently named Poultry Farmer of the Year at the prestigious Farmers Weekly Awards, is constructing two new 16,000-bird sheds and a packing room on his family’s farm at Glenhead near Stranraer. The farm is already home to 64,000 birds.
The £1.5 million construction project, which is being assisted by a substantial funding package from Clydesdale Bank, is the first phase of plans to double the number of birds on the farm over the next two years. The expansion has already created two new jobs, bringing to eight the number employed by the farm.
All of the eggs produced on the farm go to Noble Foods’ premium brand, The Happy Egg Company. The farm negotiated an increase to their contract with Noble Foods before committing to expansion.
James, who is vice chairman of the British Free Range Egg Producers’ Association, said: “We’re extremely proud of what we have built here at Glenhead. Most of the family are involved in one way or another and we’re creating jobs for local contractors too.
“As a substantial employer, it is important to us that our growth is sustainable We are increasing production hand in hand with our packer to make sure we don’t end up in a situation where there is oversupply.
“Working in close partnership with Clydesdale Bank has also been a great help. Its knowledgeable team understand the sector and what we require to develop as a business.”
The family has been a Clydesdale Bank customer since deciding to go into egg production in 2009. Other initiatives Clydesdale Bank has supported include the installation of 400KW biomass boilers, which in addition to qualifying for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme and also improve the atmosphere for the birds, and a 225KW wind turbine. Self-erected, the wind turbine qualifies for the Feed In Tariff, supplies electricity to power the chicken sheds and helps to heat the hens.
The deal was delivered by Eileen Hornell, an agricultural relationship manager based at Clydesdale Bank’s Carlisle Business and Private Banking Centre.
David Hannon, Head of Agribusiness at Clydesdale Bank, and Head of the Carlisle centre, said: “James and family have created a strong, well-managed farm which is at the forefront of innovation. They deserve the success they have achieved and we are delighted to support their expansion.
“Our specialist knowledge of and focus on different sectors helps to bring a challenge to the market, giving small and medium sized businesses the speed and flexibility they need to fulfil their ambitions.”