A SPECIAL General Meeting of Dairygold Co-Op could be held within the next two weeks over concerns surrounding a proposed new Milk Supply Agreement (MSA).
Dairygold members have reacted with apprehension to the MSA, which is central to Dairygold's plans for expansion following the lifting of milk quotas. The MSA would tie members to new production targets and in some cases requires them to increase their shareholding in the co-op.
The Dairygold Milk Suppliers and Shareholders Group held a meeting on Tuesday night where it was unanimously agreed to call for a special general meeting of Dairygold co-op to discuss the MSA. They claim that a significant number of farmers are refusing to sign the agreement.
"Many farmers who have signed the contract did so under financial duress and are extremely sorry they did so before they fully studied its contents," a spokesperson for the group said.
"The meeting discussed all aspects of the Dairygold contract with which the milk suppliers had serious issue signing the contract meant signing away ones rights "signing is binding" and yet the board can alter the contents from time to time. It is a supply and recapitalisation contract with no minimum price base. It should not be signed under duress and cannot be changed," the group said in a statement released on Wednesday.
"Us farmers are under financial pressure paying for our own on farm expansion and now we are faced with a large co-op expense. Can we afford it or will we have to cut back on our own plans? Will it be profitable?
'We want the co-op plans to be fully investigated and updated before and not after we invest our money. It is only good business practice to do so," the statement read.
A statement from Dairygold said that the Society will adhere to the Rules in relation to the convening of an SGM, should such a requisition be received.
"In excess of 70% of suppliers have already signed the MSA with a further 15% committing to sign in the very near future. The one-to-one meetings will continue with individual farmers at the rate of up to 50 per day and these will continue until the end of March," the statement said.