Foster launches breakthrough agri-food product


Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today officially launched an innovative new product for the dairy industry developed by Belfast company John Thompson and Sons.

Rumitech© is a next generation rumen enhancement product that has been shown to improve milk yields and enhance milk quality in Northern Irish dairy herds by 7% cent on average.

The product is the result of a three year project that saw the animal feed company invest over half a million pounds in research and development. Invest Northern Ireland offered over £200,000 of support towards the project which included part funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Launching the new product, the Minister said: “This new product represents a significant breakthrough which will help improve the productivity and health of dairy herds in Northern Ireland. It will therefore benefit not only John Thompson and Sons but also the entire dairy supply chain.

“Rumitech© will help local farmers to increase production efficiency, which is important in helping them to remain competitive in a global economy. The product also has huge export potential for the Republic of Ireland market.

“The project is also an example of what can be accomplished through collaboration and by taking advantage of the specialist expertise that resides in our local research institutes. Thompsons worked closely with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Hillsborough to carry out the research, and also involved over 40 local farms in the study.

“John Thompson and Sons has been a pioneer in the feed manufacturing sector for over 100 years, investing significantly in research and development. This focus on innovation has delivered ongoing success for the company and is also contributing to the health of the local agri-food sector, which is a key contributor to Northern Ireland’s economic success.”

Mr Declan Billington, Managing Director of John Thompson and Sons, said: “The future of Northern Ireland dairy farming and its ability to export products competitively, depends above all else on profitability on farm. We are committed to an ongoing program of research and investment to find next generation products that will drive up productivity, performance, health and welfare of every dairy herd in Northern Ireland.

“With farm profitability being the focus of John Thompson and Sons R&D program, this new product represents a significant breakthrough in the nutrition of Northern Ireland’s dairy herds.

“By helping our farming customers to become more profitable, we not only assure our joint futures, but also the future of the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland. This project is an example of that ethos in action. Invest NI’s support both for this product and for other R&D programs currently running has been vital in allowing us to pursue the opportunities that research and development can deliver and to bring these opportunities to a successful conclusion.”

John Thompson and Sons currently employs 150 at the company’s premises in York Road.