Poultry meat and eggs contribute some 18% to Northern Ireland’s gross agricultural output and consume one-third of the compound feed trade there. With an estimated turnover of GBP 629 million (US$1 billion), the poultry meat industry provides 17% of the gross turnover of the food and drinks processing sector and more than 5,500 full- and part-time jobs.
In 2010, 105 million chickens were processed in Northern Ireland, along with 1.5 million turkeys, according to Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O'Neill. Current production of hatching eggs stands at 4 million per week, of which 1.2 million are exported. “Primary production of poultry meat and eggs is an important contributor to income on a significant number of farms across the province, nearly all of which are family businesses," said O'Neill at a recent Poultry Industry Education Trust conference. "They form the basis of our efforts to ensure a sustainable and profitable industry.”