RIBBLE Valley company Dugdale Nutrition has invested £1 million in a new plant, creating jobs and providing tailor-made animal feed for local farmers.

The 163-year-old Clitheroe family firm believes the Lancashire sheep and cattle sector is set to grow and is looking to provide the products needed to help this expansion.

The purpose-built feed blending unit at its Salthill headquarters will open next month, providing two new jobs immediately and hopefully leading to the employment of six to 10 more staff in the near future.

The company, which currently employs 63 workers and has taken eight staff in recent months, hopes the new plant will produce 50,000 tonnes of blended food a year, including ‘bespoke’ recipes tailored to the individual needs of farmers and their animals.

Managing director Matthew Dugdale said: “This is a significant investment from the shareholders of Dugdale Nutrition, showing their long term commitment to supplying the ruminant sector.

“This is based on the belief that the future for dairy, beef and lamb is positive and we believe that, as a 100 per cent independent family-owned business, we are perfectly positioned to adapt to the changing needs of our customers in the years to come. This will allow the business to continue its recent expansion whilst staying true its roots of openness, high quality products and exceptional customer service.”

The new plant will be the only purpose-built blending facility in the North of England, designed to allow articulated wagons freedom to manoeuvre with no height restriction reducing unloading times to a minimum.

Commercial manager Andy Galling said: “There is a large and increasing demand from farmers for both proprietary and bespoke blends which the new unit will help meet.

“The new blend shed will produce bespoke unground blends. While the majority of sales will be in bulk, the shed will also offer smaller amounts and the option for farmers to collect blends.

“It means that we can become the one stop shop for farmers’ ruminant feed needs.

“The blending shed will come into production by April and we are planning an open day and official opening in July.”

Ribble Valley council leader Stuart Hirst said: “I am exceptionally pleased to see a local company creating jobs and investing in the future of farming, one of the borough’s main industries.”