Viewpoint: Milk 'mothership' is operating on a different planet to its suppliers
There were plenty of references to 'family', as farmers gathered in Navan last week to vent their anger over the recent 1c/l cut to Glanbia's milk price.
Yet this 'family gathering' was anything but a pleasant affair as the air of disappointment among lean-of-pocket suppliers spilled over into frustration and disbelief. Many felt quite simply hard done by.
A recent 'bull run' had seen prices increase internationally, and also appear to stabilise in Ireland, until the latest drop in the Global Dairy Trade index. And with other processors holding prices steady, Glanbia suppliers naturally felt that their company would follow suit. Not so.
"We're a mothership for 5,000 suppliers and if we don't keep the mothership together then everyone suffers," Glanbia Ingredients Ireland chief executive Jim Bergin told the IFA gathering in Meath last week.
Liquid milk producer Michael O'Flaherty highlighted the references to the Glanbia 'family', as he urged the processor to "step up to the plate" and support suppliers as they face into the chilly winter months.
"That family needs to start working for us," he said, as Mr Bergin stated he was delivering the "cold reality" which would mean farmers would make different decisions on their on farm spending.
A new shareholder Fintan McCabe told how he feels totally disillusioned after being proud to be part of the dairy giant over the years.
"The standing of a family unit, as it has been described, is how you treat your weakest, and I don't think the weakest has been treated very well," he said, as concerns were raised over some suppliers being unable to buy co-op shares to receive top-ups.