For over 20 years Derek McKeown ran a haulage business on the same site, but in 2010 he decided on a career change and after meeting stringent Moy Park standards and with substantial initial support from Ulster Bank, the poultry unit began operating with 16,000 chickens. Following the recent investment and expansion the unit is now home to 25,000 chickens.
Conditions on the poultry unit are so highly regulated that no-one is allowed within the perimeter fence of the site without Moy Park approval and health checks to maintain bio-security standards. Derek McKeown said: “We create the ideal conditions for chickens to produce the eggs which are collected every other day by Moy Park and taken to the hatchery. 60 per cent of them are securely packed and exported all over Europe and as far away as Asia. The other 40 per cent are hatched at Moy Park for the UK and Irish markets.”
He added: “Ulster Bank took a lot of time to understand our business and the high quality standards that are essential for us. Without their backing we wouldn’t be able to achieve any of this growth.”
Andy Mills, Regional Director, Business Banking at Ulster Bank, said: “Businesses like the McKeown’s are vital to the Northern Ireland economy – their focus on quality produce has enabled them to build a thriving business, in partnership with Moy Park, the UK’s largest producer of organic and free range chicken.
“We’re pleased to have played a role in supporting the McKeowns from day one of their business venture. Our continued support through the Funding for Lending scheme has enabled many local firms to access the finance that they need to take advantage of new opportunities and , and we are continually looking for new opportunities to support entrepreneurship and innovation in businesses right across Northern Ireland.”
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