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.

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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.”