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Majority of dairy farmers should look at going organic, says Glenisk boss


Glenisk MD Vincent Cleary

Glenisk MD Vincent Cleary

Glenisk MD Vincent Cleary

The majority of dairy farmers should be looking at converting to organic, according to Glenisk managing director Vincent Cleary.

It now seems environmental regulations, he says, will determine how much any dairy farmer can produce in the future and organic production could enhance the viability of many farms.

"This idea of factory farming where you can get possibly up to 1,000 cows on a very small holding and everything is done almost on a factory-like basis, that will not work for the majority of farmers in this country.

"Therefore I would say the majority of farmers in this country should be looking at organic as a ways and means of not only enhancing the viability of their own family farm, but then partaking in something bigger."

The company, which hit sales of €23m last year, recently received planning permission to almost double the size of its factory. "We hope to start building in the coming months. We are trying to build in advance of taking on customers. Milk constrains are probably holding us back a little at the moment, but definitely I envisage another 15-20pc growth for this year and next year. All we need is more farmers to come on board."

Glenisk, he says to his knowledge, pays more than any other milk purchaser in the country and the company could double its supply of organic yogurt if it had sufficient milk supplies.

Exports are not a big part of Glenisk's business, with Ireland accounting for 90pc plus of its business. "I'd like to think we are the local champion."

He also says the company has been pounding the environmental drum since the mid-1990s when it wanted to differentiate themselves. "Surprise, surprise it has only taken 25 years before it has caught up with mainstream consumers,

"I saw it 25 years ago - that the world was in crisis - but the world apparently didn't realise it was in crisis until very recently."

His advice to farmers thinking of going into organic production is to look and see how another farmer is performing. "So we always encourage any farmer to have a look at one of our existing suppliers and see what they are doing."

Online Editors