Business Farming

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Critics legal concerns are 'unfounded'

Published 23/01/2013 | 06:00

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In the aftermath of the meeting, Dairygold accused Oliver Ryan-Purcell of misunderstanding the milk supply agreement.

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"His commentaries advising farmers not to sign the milk supply agreement, which has been approved by the society's elected representative structure, has raised unfounded concerns among some suppliers," insisted a Dairygold spokesman.

"While Dairygold would encourage suppliers to seek appropriate advice, it is important that such advice would be from professionals who have a clear understanding of the co-op ethos, the existing Dairygold rulebook that governs the relationship between the society and its members, plus the function of the representative structure," the co-op spokesman maintained.

He added that if the co-op had 3,000 individually negotiated agreements, and certain suppliers achieved more favourable terms in their contract than others, it would conflict with the co-op ethos.

He added that the provision for Dairygold to amend the 2013 milk purchasing terms and conditions from time to time was just a continuation of existing long-established custom and practice.

"It is not legally questionable, unusual, oppressive or one-sided," insisted the Dairygold spokesman.

Meanwhile, Eugene Sheehan, chairman of the Concerned Dairygold Farmers Action Group, insisted that the group had no problem with the financial aspects of the milk supply agreement but took serious issue with the wording of the contract.

"People are not happy with the wording," he insisted. "The legal side of it was never explained to farmers.

"We want Dairygold management to sit down across the table from us and get the wording of the agreement changed. If that happens, everyone will sign up," he added.

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