The wisdom of Glanbia plc and co-op demerging was questioned last week by a leading Dutch co-operative advisor and researcher.
Dr Onno van Bekkum told the ICOS conference that a number of recent developments in the Irish co-op scene had intrigued him.
Among these was the proposal to demerge Glanbia plc and Glanbia Co-op. "Why would Glanbia want to get rid of its US dairy business?" Dr van Bekkum asked.
He described this idea as "a waste" for Glanbia suppliers since it would have resulted in the farmers severing their link to the processer's highly profitable US operation.
Glanbia supplier and IFA dairy committee chairman Kevin Kiersey explained that the demerger proposal was motivated by a desire to take greater control and develop the co-op's Irish business.
"If you retreat onto your island, I don't think that would be a good decision," Dr van Bekkum replied.
Pointing to the example of Arla and Friesland Campina, he said the future for successful co-ops was "in the world".
The Dutchman also questioned why Dairygold sold its brands, the sale of Newmarket to Kerry; the continual dilution of milk suppliers' shareholding in Kerry Group, and why Irish co-ops kept their marketing arm, IDB, at such a distance.