Family farming business focuses on exports

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster pictured with Stephen Crawford, Raymond Crawford and the Duke Of Westminster Major-General Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, at the Crawford Brothers 30th anniversary event in Parliament Buildings, Belfast.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has noted the export success of a Fermanagh based firm.

The Minister was speaking at the Crawford Brothers 30th anniversary celebration, held at Parliament Buildings, which was attended by the Duke of Westminster.

The Maguiresbridge company supplies cattle breeding products, such as bull semen and embryos, to 14 countries worldwide and recently invested in an export development project with support from Invest Northern Ireland.

Arlene Foster said: “Crawford Brothers have diversified from a farming background into a business selling cattle products in global markets. Working with Invest NI, they have now set their sights on further growth.

“Over 70% of turnover was generated from external markets last year, and the company’s focus on continuous innovation has resulted in its products being sold in 30 different countries and new technology being introduced across the wider industry.”

The Minister concluded: “Northern Ireland can increase prosperity by developing the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses. With assistance from Invest NI small businesses throughout Northern Ireland can compete internationally.”

The Duke of Westminster, Major-General Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, and his family own Cogent Breeding, the UK’s largest bull stud and he commented: “The Crawford family has housed bulls with us at Cogent since 2006. Vigot was with us for a year and Sauvignon was with us for a year before winning prize after prize, including the European Limousin Male Champion, the European Limousin Carcass Champion and the European Progeny Champion in Paris. Innovation is key to our business and it is through working with families like the Crawfords that we are able to be truly innovative.

“With Sauvignon the Crawford family has shown how innovative they can be. Along with Vigot he was marketed as the first Limousin bull in the world, as well as the first beef bull in the world, for female sexed semen. Last year he became the first Limousin bull in the world from which male sexed semen became available.

“I am glad to say he currently stands with us at the Cogent Stud and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Crawfords on more prosperous and innovative ideas in the future.”

Raymond Crawford, of Crawford Brothers, commented: “When the ban was lifted on exporting Northern Ireland livestock, we immediately seized the opportunity to capitalise on our reputation for award winning livestock and pursue growth in new markets with innovative, high value products.

“Invest NI has helped us to enhance our online, marketing and design capabilities to improve competitiveness promote the business in target markets. The sales of the bull semen and embryos from our highly prized pedigree bulls and heifers are growing year on year and are now amongst the most sought after agricultural breeding products in the world. As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we are now planning to target the South American and South African markets.”