18 Oct 2016

Silver Fern Farms aims for fewer meatplants, longer season

4:02 pm on 18 October 2016

Silver Fern Farms is looking at options to close its North Island mutton processing plant at Frasertown in Wairoa and its South Island Mossburn venison plant.

Silver Fern Farms CEO Dean Hamilton and board chair Rob Hewett at a special shareholders' meeting in Dunedin on 12 August 2016.

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Dean Hamilton and board chair Rob Hewett Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

Frasertown employs 67 staff, while Mossburn employs 43.

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Dean Hamilton said changing livestock flows meant there was the opportunity to become more efficient and offer farmer suppliers improved service by operating fewer plants for longer during a season.

Mr Hamilton said both plants operated in regions where the company had other plants which could manage the combined levels of livestock processing in the region.

He said employees at Mossburn were being given options to work at the company's Waitane, Kennington or Finegand sites.

Frasertown employees will have the option of transferring to Takapau or Pacific in Central Hawke's Bay.

Frasertown employs 67 staff, while Mossburn employs 43 staff.

Southland district mayor Gary Tong said a number of the workers had decided to move to the other sites, but the plant closure would put a blot on Mossburn's landscape.

"The plant itself will be a loss, it will be another empty building, unfortunately, on a pretty major thoroughfare. Hopefully we can get something else in there. But as a loss to the communities, I believe the majority of them will be staying in Southland, so let's hope we can accommodate them and keep them here."