Dairygold is Chamber's Cork Company of the Year
Dairygold Chief Executive Jim Woulfe has paid tribute to the co-op's staff and its suppliers who have helped grow the business by achieving a near 50pc increase in milk production in six years as he accepted the Cork Chamber Company of the Year Award 2017.
Mr Woulfe said that Dairygold was faced with an opportunity six years ago to expand its production significantly with the ending of the milk quota system and thanks to hard work of its staff and the support of its 7,300 members, it had fully capitalised on the opportunity.
He said he was delighted to accept the Cork Chamber Company of the Year Award 2017 for Dairygold but he was "merely the captain accepting the cup on behalf of the Dairygold team" as he went on to thank the co-op's banks as well as various state agencies for their support.
"We wouldn't be where we are without the efforts of the entire Dairygold team and I'm really proud to lead such a focused group. The passion and pride created a sense of determination within the organisation and gave the business the energy to progress and succeed," he said.
"I'm really proud that the Dairygold team rose to the challenge and our suppliers, some 2,900 milk producers upped their output from 800 million litres of milk to over 1.2 billion litres of milk- a 44pc increase - all of which is being processed here in Co Cork," he added.
"It all starts on the farms with our suppliers, the business owners. Without their confidence in and support for growth it wouldn't be possible. Four years ago more than 2,000 members voted to pursue the plan which meant members signing up to Milk Supply Contracts and providing funding."
Mr Woulfe said that this proved the impetus for the co-op's lenders to row in behind the venture and provide funding for the overall plan and with support from various state agencies including the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Enterprise Ireland, the plan became a reality.
He said the regeneration and redevelopment of its dairy sites at Mitchelstown and Mallow could not have been achieved without the support of Cork County Council and various contractors which saw it invest more in milk processing infrastructure in the past five years than in the preceding 30 years.
"It was the confidence that these developments demonstrated that led to us securing significant external investment by Ornua in establishing the Kerrygold Butter Centre of Excellence at our site in Mitchelstown.
And now Tine - Norway's largest dairy processor is doing the same with Jarlsberg Cheese at our site in Mogeely in East Cork" said Mr Woulfe before paying tribute to the co-op's 1,204 employees who worked harder and longer to deliver on the expansion plan.Dairygold won the Large Company of the Year Award in addition to the Overall Company Award while Emerging Company of the Year Award went to medical device company, OrthoXel and the SME Company of the year went hardware wholesalers, Irish International Trading Corporation. Cork Chamber President, Barrie O'Connell paid tribute to all the finalists and said it had been another highly successful year for the Cork Company of the Year Awards, presented in conjunction with Vodafone Ireland, which were now in their 20th year.
"The Awards shine a spotlight on the exceptional businesses in the Cork region and give us great confidence in Corks ability to deliver business excellence. ..... The Awards show the vibrancy of businesses that our region hosts and have demonstrated that Cork is a hub for business excellence."