€32m top-up for Glanbia suppliers for grain and milk
Farmers in the country's largest dairy co-op, Glanbia, voted to approve a €32m top-up from co-op funds to its grain and milk suppliers yesterday.
Over 6,200 farmers - just over a third of the co-op's shareholders - will share the payout, which is designed to help dairy farmers through the dramatic collapse in dairy markets that is expected to halve incomes this year.
The bonus represents an extra 0.5c/l on milk produced by Glanbia suppliers in 2014, along with an additional €5/t of grain supplied.
A 'loyalty payment' for 2014 feed and fertiliser purchases will also be included, and co-op management said that they would pay out €11.4m of the total as early as possible in 2015, with a further €0.8m after the 2015 grain harvest.
However, the lion's share of the package - the €20m to support 2015 milk prices - would be at the "discretion of the co-op board," according to a statement from Glanbia.
Missing out on the bonus, however, are the non-farming shareholders and dairy farmers who have refused to commit all their milk to the co-op through supply contracts that the co-op wants all of its suppliers to sign.
The major bonus package is seen by many as a sweetener as a major scramble for new milk suppliers gets underway throughout the country in advance of the end of milk quota limits next April 1.
IFA dairy chairman Sean O'Leary said that it was vital that the provisions would be fair to all producers.
"All supplier shareholders should be eligible to receive the milk price support, without restrictions," he said.