Silver Fern Farms is planning to close its pelt processing operation at its Fairton pelt house site following a review.

As part of the consultation process, all 44 people processing pelts at the Fairton site and 4 preparing pelts at Pareora, have been presented with potential redundancy, as well as work options at other Silver Fern Farms sites in the region.

Silver Fern Farms closed its Fairton sheepmeat processing plant in May 2017 following a decline in regional sheep numbers.

Continued low sheepmeat numbers in the South Island have also led to a situation where there is excess pelt processing capacity in the South Island. Pelt processors are also seeing low returns from the global market. These factors, coupled with the high overhead costs due to the large site, is making pelt processing unsustainable at Fairton.

This will mean the company can consolidate its South Island pelts at their Finegand pelt preparation facility, bringing efficiency gains through this early part of the pelting process.

Silver Fern Farms has investigated alternative processing options with others in the industry through a thorough process. Should this proposal proceed following consultation, it intends to consolidate its volumes through other pelt processors for mutual benefit.

Support is being offered to the 44 people at Fairton and 4 roles at Pareora affected by the proposed closure.

A decision is expected at the end of the month.

For further information please contact:

Justin Courtney
Head of Communications & Sustainability
Silver Fern Farms
027 444 1322