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"A Good Week for the Irish Pig and Pigmeat Industry" - Minister Smith

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD today performed the official opening of Hermitage Pedigree Pigs Ltd's new state-of-the-art porcine semen collection station at Whitesland, Callan, Co Kilkenny.

The Minister said that today's opening marks the "end of a very good week for the Irish pig and pigmeat industry, following confirmation earlier in the week of the reopening of the very valuable Russian market for Irish pigmeat."  

Having secured the reopening of the Russian market, which was worth €12 million in 2007, Minister Smith referred to the importance of securing access to the Chinese market for Irish porcine semen and stated that his Department had made this a priority. The Minister said he believed that "this new collection station will impress any international inspectors and the Irish and international delegates attending next week's genetics conference, which includes a tour of this new top-class facility."

Minister Smith stressed that the company is to the forefront in developments in DNA technologies, from both a traceability and an animal breeding perspective, and expressed his strong belief that "the use of DNA information offered a tremendous opportunity for significant improvements in the genetic merit of animals." He praised the company's commitment to breeding programme that produces genetics and services that optimise performance on all its customers' herds.

The Minister paid tribute to the ground-breaking work carried out by the company since it was set up by John Joe and Lil Nolan in 1958.  He said that, under the direction of the current owners, Edward and Ann Nolan, Hermitage Pedigree Pigs Ltd had carved out a significant share of the Irish AI market and was now a major exporter with a business presence throughout Europe, Asia, the USA and South America.

Minister Smith concluded by wishing the Hermitage Pedigree Pigs Ltd team "every success in the future."

Date Released: 29 January 2010