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Sunday 21 October 2018

Laois farmer elected to top IFA dairy job

He has chaired his local Glanbia area and regional committees, he was Macra na Feirme Laois Co. Chairman and has had significant experience within IFA. Pic: Justin Farrelly.
He has chaired his local Glanbia area and regional committees, he was Macra na Feirme Laois Co. Chairman and has had significant experience within IFA. Pic: Justin Farrelly.
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Laois dairy and beef farmer Tom Phelan was elected Chairman of the IFA National Dairy Committee, succeeding Sean O’Leary at the end of his term.

Tom Phelan farms with his wife Caroline and children Martin, Karen and Marie-Thérèse in Pike of Rushall, near Mountrath in Co. Laois, and supplies creamery milk to Glanbia. 

In a statement IFA said Tom has a strong track record of farmer representation. He has chaired his local Glanbia area and regional committees, he was Macra na Feirme Laois Co. Chairman and has had significant experience within IFA, serving on the Dairy and Farm Business Committees and as County Chairman for Laois. 

He has also been representing the National Dairy Committee on the IFA Animal Health Project Team. 

Outlining his key priorities, Tom Phelan said, “I am conscious that I am starting my term as Chair of the National Dairy Committee after a strong year for dairy trade and milk prices, and with more challenging market conditions ahead”. 

Speaking about his priorities as Chairman, Tom Phelan said:

  • “Optimising milk prices will remain my top priority.  Nothing has a bigger impact on dairy farmers’ incomes. 
  • Volatility is continuing to challenge dairy farmers’ incomes.  We need to develop more income risk management tools.
  • We must defend the farm family model, as it is intrinsic to our farming industry.
  • While recognising that sustainability is a very important issue for the entire industry, farmers must see a return for their effort.
  • Our ability to attract and retain labour onto dairy farms will be crucial.
  • The dairy industry has enormous potential to deliver for farmers and for the Irish economy.  However, future industry planning must be based on delivering sustainable returns for farmers, rather than be purely supply driven.

New Sheep Chairman

The IFA National Sheep Committee this week elected Sean Dennehy from Co Cork as the New IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman. Sean replaces John Lynskey from Co Mayo, who served as National Sheep Chairman with distinction over the last four years.

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Sean Dennehy set out his key priorities for the sheep sector and Irelands 34,000 sheep farmers over the next number of years.

  • Strong viable lamb prices that give sheep farmers a profitable return well over the costs of production;
  • Ensuring that the sheep sector is fully protected in the Brexit negotiations;
  • Increasing sheep farm incomes and securing a better deal and improved targeted direct payments for sheep farmers in CAP;
  • Securing a worthwhile environmental payment for sheep farmers, reflecting the strong environmental credentials of the sheep sector; and,
  • Representing both lowland and hill sheep farmers on all issues at National and European level.

Sean Dennehy is a lowland sheep farmer with 300 ewes and he also contract rears replacement dairy stock. In addition, Sean also manages a neighbouring sheep and cattle farm. The Cork man was elected to the National Sheep Committee in 2013 and was National Vice Chairman until his election. He is also a member of the Sheep Management Committee.

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