independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

'Milk agreement is needed to prepare for post quota future'

Bertie O'Leary, Chairman, Jim Woulfe, Chief Executive and Michael Harte, Chief Financial Officer. Photo: John Sheehan

DAIRYGOLD'S new Milk Supply Agreement (MSA) is necessary to prepare the Co-Operative and its members for the lifting of milk quotas, according to one Cork dairy farmer.

Sean O'Sullivan, who is a member of Diarygold's Ballingeary Regional Committee, this week told The Corkman that the criticisms of the MSA are unfounded.

"When quotas go, it will be the biggest change to the dairy industry in 30 years, and the Co-Op will have to deal with it. Investing in increased capacity is needed once quotas are lifted," he said.

"This MSA is the best way forward, and all other options have been looked at," he said.

Mr O'Sullivan said that claims that the MSA's forecasted increases in milk supply is based on just one survey, as claimed by members of the Dairygold Milk Suppliers and Shareholders Group (DMSSG), are not true.

He also added that Dairygold had met with farmers who feared they would not be able to meet either the increased shareholding demands or the necessary contributions to the revolving investment fund, and are working on tailored solutions to these issues.

Meanwhile, Dairygold Chief Executive Jim Woulfe said the plan will ensure that Dairygold will be in a position to process all of its Members' milk.

"The agreement will give us the certainty required to realise the opportunities presented by the post quota era," he said.

"The majority of our milk suppliers wish to expand milk production to avail of the potential for increased farm income offered by the post quota era and Dairygold remains focused on helping them realise those opportunities. This is a time of great change and opportunity for dairy farmers and the financial strength we have carefully built up in Dairygold over recent years, together with our expansion strategy, positions us well to reap the rewards that substantial dairy expansion over the next seven years will offer," he added.

Members of the DMSSG this week said that they did not meet with the board and management of Dairygold as written questions they submitted were not addressed.

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