A $16 million '"state of the art" plan has gone before Tamworth Regional Council to double the operations of a major chicken farm in Manilla.
Submitted by Fairglen Farms Pty Ltd in consultation with Baxter Geo Consulting, the plan would see an additional 16 broilers added to complement the existing 16 on site at the Rushes Creek Road property.
The new sheds will have the capacity to hold up to 48,500 birds, and are set to be tunnel ventilated.
Added to that, existing sheds will increase their 'bird accommodation' from 800,000 to 1,576,000 birds.
The proposed development provides contract growing to the Baiada/Steggles group.
The farm, previously owned by Russell Chickens, was sold in October last year to a new company headed by Fairfax media baron John Fairfax.
It comes amongst a flurry of buying from the agriculture business, established in November, which has since acquired $23 million of farms near Tamworth and in south-east Queensland.
The 994.5 hectare property itself, formerly known as 'Brubri', has been used as a chicken farm since 2000 under the ownership of the Russell family.
The family operated a large scale food and feed grade poultry production facility known as Russell Chickens.
Before it was used for poultry, the area was used for mixed farming, mainly grain production, for "over 100 years".
It was sold in 2020 for $17.5 million, according to documents obtained by the Financial Review, and was renamed 'Tharri' by the new owners.
The property, as it has been for 20 years, remains a growing farm for Baiada, one of Australia's largest chicken processors.
The Statement of Environmental Effects for the Development Application (DA) said the chickens will live in "favourable environmental conditions".
"The new and existing sheds are completely enclosed utilising computer technology to provide a totally controlled environment," the statement reads.
"The new sheds ensure the birds live in the most favourable environmental conditions."
The applications describes the proposed development as a "state of the art poultry meat production".
"The modern sheds ... [are] not only proactive in the minimising effects on the environment but considerably contributes to improvement of the environment."
The property is located within 50km of Tamworth and the processing plant, and is within 45 kilometres of the Tangaratta stock feed mill.
The report referenced the New England North West Regional Plan 2036, which said poultry made up 14 per cent of the livestock meat industry from 2014-15 with the industry experiencing "intensive" growth in regions around Tamworth ever since.
"Potential expansion of these sectors is demonstrated by the already growing poultry sector around Tamworth, Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains," the report read.
"[Poultry] and other emerging sectors can diversify the agricultural economy, promote value adding opportunities and create employment."
The DA will soon be on exhibition for at least 28 days, with public submissions considered before a decision can be made by council.