Friday 31 October 2014

Dairygold defend milk contracts

Published 16/01/2013 | 06:00

New Dairygold milk supply contracts will have no impact on the transfer or sale of a farm, according to the co-op.

A Dairygold statement, issued in advance of a supplier meeting on the matter in Mallow GAA club tomorrow night, attempts to assuage a number of concerns that have arisen over the last number of weeks.

The recently established Dairygold Concerned Action Group, led by Mitchelstown farmer Eugene Sheehan, said that it was in contact with more than 1,200 suppliers who are worried about the legal implications of the new supply contracts.

"Dairygold management have stopped talking to us which has left a void of information," said Mr Sheehan.

"They tell us that everything can be teased out in one-to-one meetings but I know many suppliers who don't want to go into these because they are afraid that they'll be intimidated into signing the contract," he said.

The co-op moved to diffuse the opposition to the contracts last week by dropping the proposed 2c/l penalty on farmers who did not sign up. Instead, it is now offering farmers who signcontracts before the end of March a bonus of 0.35c/l on all 2012 milk supplies. However, the co-op has insisted that non-contracted milk will receive lower prices after 2015.

However, Mr Sheehan said that a bonus for milk supplied by farmers who do sign the contract would be a breach of Dairygold's own rules which state that all suppliers must get the same price. He added that Dairygold had failed to inform farmers about how the Revenue will treat the transfer of quota rights to the co-op.

Despite Dairygold's statement that said that it "has no interest or role whatsoever in restricting any farm transfers and will be happy to sign a new milk supply agreement with an immediate family successor", Mr Sheehan said that his group's legal advice suggested otherwise.

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