These are exciting times for Murray Bridge-based processor, Big River Pork, which has started work on a $14m expansion to expand and enhance production.

The expansion will create 140 ongoing jobs and an estimated 46 jobs in the construction phase.

Big River Pork chairman Geoff Hampel said it will benefit local farmers, transport operators, feed suppliers and other participants in the local pork industry and put Big River Pork on track to be one of Australia’s biggest pork producers.

It will enable Big River Pork to increase its production to meet a new long term supply agreement as consumer demand for pork continues to grow – and will make the company one of the largest pork processors in Australia,as consumer demand for pork continues to grow.

The company’s investment is supported by the State Government through a total $900,000 grant with equal contributions from the Economic Investment Fund and the Regional Development Fund. Investment Attraction South Australia (IASA) has been the supporting agency in this development.

“The expansion will include new chillers, new carparks, new water system and a lot of new site works around the plant,” Mr Hampel said.

“That will lead to an additional 140 jobs, those jobs will have a good flow-on to the local region here. This expansion is very important because what it does do is give our employees, our farmers, our contractors, all the people that service us, much more security going forward.”

BRP was formed in the year 2000 and has grown to the point where it is now processing about 11,000 pigs through the abattoir and about 4000 through the boning area per week. The expansion will enable the company to increase its production by 3,500 pigs processed and boned a week and meet a new long-term supply agreement.

“The additional volume also gives us a chance to reduce our costs, so we can be more competitive in the marketplace,” Mr Hampel said.

“We export products from here to Singapore, Hong Kong and other Pacific Rim countries and we are very confident that export market will grow as we go forward,” he said.

“We process for many of the large pork companies in Australia and that includes Don, KR Castlemaine, Sunpork, Auspork, BE Campbell and major retailers throughout Australia.

“Locally, we process product for companies like Barossa Fine Foods, Conroys, and also Holco.”

Murray Bridge is a one-hour drive east of Adelaide via a freeway, which becomes the major interstate highway to Victoria.

Mr Hampel said the location was ideal for Big River Pork, as it was able to access pigs from Victoria and send finished product interstate by road.

He thanked Investment Attraction South Australia and Regions South Australia for supporting the expansion.

“Big River Pork very much enjoys doing business in South Australia and working with Investment Attraction South Australia has helped us to work with the government,” he said. “They have helped us dot the i’s and cross the t’s and given us some good expertise in that area.”

Big River Pork is a major employer in the Murraylands, with a current workforce of 190 full time equivalent positions and this will increase to a total of 330 when the expansion is expected to be completed in 2019. The South Australian Centre for Economic Studies has estimated that the Big River Pork expansion will boost the state’s gross product by $79 million over the next ten years, in 2015-16 values.