Silver Fern Farms has confirmed it will close the Fairton pelthouse and consolidate pelt volumes at its Finegand site in Balclutha.

All 44 people processing pelts at the Fairton site have been presented with redundancy, as well as work options at other Silver Fern Farms sites in the region said GM Operations Mark Leslie.

“We understand this decision will have a significant impact on our 44 people working in the Fairton pelthouse, as well as with 4 staff preparing pelts at Pareora, who we also met with today.

We let our people know that we appreciated the professional way they went through this consultation process, that we value their skills and welcome the chance to retain them at our other sites.”

“We have set up a resource centre to assist our people with decisions around their employment. We have roles available for them at our other sites, should they wish to take them up.”

Silver Fern Farms has investigated alternative further processing options for pelts with others in the industry.

Continued low sheepmeat numbers in the South Island had led to a situation where there was excess pelt processing capacity in the South Island. Pelt processors were also seeing low returns from the global market. These factors, coupled with the large overheads at the site, made pelt processing unsustainable at Fairton.

“We now intend to consolidate our volumes at our Finegand pelt preparation facility, bringing efficiency gains through this early part of the pelting process. We will then use specialist pelt processors to finish the products. We believe there is mutual benefit in this process and we will be running a process to determine the best fit for our needs.”

Silver Fern Farms will continue to operate the Fairton farm as it looks to future options for the site.

For further information please contact:

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