New ICOS President says 'complete imbalance in fortunes' between dairy and livestock sectors needs to be addressed
Following a meeting of the Board of ICOS, Jerry Long has been elected as President succeeding Michael Spellman who has completed his term of office.
ICOS (the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society) represents over 130 co-operatives in Ireland – including the Irish dairy processing co-operatives and livestock marts – whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of €14 billion, with some 150,000 individual members, employing 12,000 people in Ireland, and a further 24,000 people overseas.
At the same meeting, James O'Donnell was re-elected Vice President. He represents the National Co-operative Farm Relief Services and is a dairy farmer in Golden, Co. Tipperary, supplying Dairygold Co-op.
Mr. Long takes up his role immediately. From The Ragg, Co. Tipperary, he is a dairy farmer and milk supplier to Drombane Co-operative. He has been chairman of the ICOS Dairy Committee since 2015.
Mr. Long said his strong focus and that of the organisation will be to work to help co-operatives to further develop the resilience of their businesses.
“The environment will, quite rightly, be a huge focus from now on, but in parallel, we need to ensure that our model of farming and food production is resilient and sustainable for the benefit of farm families and rural communities.
“The dramatic increase in milk production, with over €200 million in additional income for rural areas every year since 2015, has been hugely positive for rural communities. We must now focus on making the next phase of that expansion fully sustainable and resilient.
“We also need to address the complete imbalance in fortunes between the dairy sector and the livestock sector, which is falling further behind every year."
He said ICOS is committed to supporting the livestock sector, through our marts, farm support co-operatives, and through our lobbying and representation at home and in Europe.
"We will campaign to deliver a model, supported by a well-funded CAP, that allows drystock farmers to capitalise on opportunities to deliver quality beef and lamb production, while being fully rewarded for their substantial services to the environment and the food supply chain.”
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