Team hired to hit 50pc dairy expansion goal

Caitrona Murphy and Martin Ryan

A team has been appointed by the Minister for Agriculture to advise on how to achieve the 50pc dairy expansion targeted in the Food Harvest 2020 report.

Joining Dr Sean Brady on the Dairy Expansion Activation Group will be three dairy farmers. They are William Keane from Ardmore, Co Waterford, Padraig McCarthy from Lixnaw, Co Kerry, and Thomas Joe Tuffy from Enniscrone in Co Sligo.

On the processor side, the group includes Jim Bergin, CEO of Glanbia Food Ingredients Ireland, Michael Hanley, CEO of Lakeland Dairies and Jim Woulfe, Dairygold CEO.

Dr Pat Dillon, head of Moorepark, will be the Teagasc representative in the activation group.

Minister Brendan Smith said the group would identify what it considered to be the most appropriate 'next steps' and address in practical terms the implementation of the Food Harvest recommendations.

The group must produce an initial 'road map' to the High Level Implementation Group by the end of November. The roadmap will highlight key milestones and identify obstacles to implementation, as well as how to overcome them, from both a farmer and processing perspective.


"It is quite clear that the dairy sector has enormous potential to lead not only the development of the agricultural economy but that of the national economy over the next decade and beyond. In order to secure that future we need to take a co-ordinated, national approach," said Mr Smith.

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Meanwhile, milk producers have reacted angrily to a cut in the September milk price by Tipperary Co-op.

The board of Tipperary Co-op have decided on a reduction of 0.8c/l. The price for September supplies is now 29.04c/l (including VAT).

The co-op blamed the reduction on a very difficult market for emmental cheese, a major component of the production mix at the co-op.

Ted O'Connor, chief executive, described the reduction as "regrettable but inevitable" and that "hopefully the price will hold at that" for the remaining months of the season.

ICMSA dairy chairman Pat McCormack described the Tipperary Co-op decision as outrageous.

"This decision is inexplicable and is guaranteed to cause anger and confusion among the farmer suppliers," he said.

Suppliers to neighbouring Centenary Co-op will also see a reduction in milk price for their September and October milk cheques.

However, the 0.5c/l deduction to suppliers' milk price is in accordance with an agreement to pay back financial support given by the co-op during last summer's crisis.

Lakeland Dairies, Connacht Gold, Arrabawn Co-op and Lisavaird have joined Glanbia in holding milk prices for September.

Irish Independent

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