Farm Ireland

Friday 19 January 2018

Ex-Kerry chief forecasts 'golden era' for dairy men

Martin Ryan

The dawn of an era of prosperity for Irish farmers, greater than anything experienced over the past three decades, is imminent according to one of the country's most respected former agri chiefs.

Breaking his silence on agricultural issues for the first time since his departure from Kerry Group plc 10 years ago, Denis Brosnan (right) has forecast that the country's most progressive dairy farmers are on the verge of a golden era, the likes of which they haven't experienced since the early 1980s.

"Now is the time to go for it and turn on all the milk you can," Mr Brosnan said.

"I think there is a golden era coming up in a few years' time when quotas on production are gone and it will offer a particularly good opportunity for the young people," he told farmers at an IFA function in Adare, Co Limerick, on Friday night.

The former chief executive of Kerry Co-op and Kerry plc, said that with the exception of the decade after joining the EEC, there had never been a more positive outlook for dairy farmers than after the upcoming end of quotas.

"I don't see any clouds over dairy farming in this part of the country. I could not be anything but positive for your future as dairy farmers," Mr Brosnan said.

"It is a great time to be a dairy farmer. What I would say to anyone now planning for two years' time when quotas are lifted, is just to go for it and turn on all of the milk you can, because you have in Kerry a major international organisation well capable of selling it and with the capacity to process it back here at home," he added.

"The Chinese have suddenly come alive to getting to like dairy products. We presume that their buying power will grow rather than diminish."

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He said that the last golden era for Irish dairy farmers was 1973-1983; the period between Ireland's entry into the EEC and the imposition of milk quotas. Milk production doubled in the 10 years, before being capped by quota.

Referring to ongoing discussions on the processing of extra milk when quotas are lifted and who will pay for any additional facilities, he predicted few problems within Kerry Group. "That it is not something they will have any difficulty with," he said.

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