25th Apr, 2006: Penrith, UK - A MAJOR review of operations at an animal feed mill near Penrith has sparked job loss fears.
Talks between workers and company bosses at Carrs Billington Agriculture’s Langwathby mill began yesterday about the future at the site.
Carrs says falling demand for its compound animal feed has led to the latest review of the operation. The company said yesterday it had no intention of closing the Langwathby mill, but did not rule out job losses among the 65 staff.
Chris Holmes, chair of Carrs Billington Agriculture, said: “To keep the Langwathby mill viable in an increasingly competitive market, we need to look at ways of improving performance. The mill has been affected by several factors including soaring energy prices, increasing numbers of dairy farmers leaving the industry and problems over the delivery of the Single Farm Payment.”
The Langwathby mill was one of four mills acquired last year from Lancashire business W&J Pye in a deal worth £16 million.
Following the acquisition, Carrs switched production from its existing Penrith mill to Langwathby with the loss of around 25 jobs.
Mr Holmes admitted that the company did not expect to carry out another review of its operations so soon after the W&J Pye takeover.
“It’s in the best interests of everybody to run a viable business,” he said.
“One possible way forward is for the Langwathby mill to become more seasonally biased as the market demands – producing less feed in the summer and more in the winter. We have made – and continue to make – substantial investment in the business and we remain committed to its future success.”
The review of the business will include consultation with workers’ unions about how best to fit a planned £500,000 protein plant into the Langwathby operation.