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Bryan calls for unity to achieve dairy expansion

IFA president John Bryan has challenged the stakeholders in the Irish dairy industry on the need for "joined-up thinking" to deliver fully on Ireland's potential for dairy expansion.

"I believe all stakeholders in the industry must, by year-end, crystallise a detailed plan to achieve a growth potential in the dairy sector that is credible and sustainable for the years before and after 2015," Mr Bryan said.

"To deliver on our strong dairy expansion potential, the enthusiasm to increase production among dairy farmers on the ground must be matched with a clear industry strategy by co-ops, the Irish Dairy Board, Government, advisory services, bankers and farmers."

Mr Bryan warned the farming community could not be credibly advised to blindly increase milk production without having the policy, financial and structural issues challenging this expansion fully worked out.

"Already, farmers, having been advised to milk away, are phoning me expressing concern on the likelihood of a superlevy fine arising between now and 2015," he said.

"Once quotas are gone in 2015, the dairy industry's ability to process and market the extra milk will be critical in determining how much farmers can sustainably produce.

"There needs to be clear joined-up thinking among co-ops including the Irish Dairy Board, and between them and Government agencies and financial institutions.

"Government will have to assist the sector to meet these challenges," he said.

Irish Independent