The IFA National Liquid Milk Committee last night (Wednesday) elected Oranmore dairy farmer John Finn to succeed Teddy Cashman as their Chairman for the next four years.
John farms near Oranmore with his wife Joan and son Eavan. He was Chairman of the Arrabawn Liquid Milk Producer Group between 2004 and 2014, and in this position was involved in price negotiations with Arrabawn on behalf of fellow-producers.
Outside of farming, John is involved in coaching the Maree National League Basketball Team, which has won numerous all-Ireland awards. John is also this year assistant coach to the National under-18 Basketball Team.
“As incoming Chairman, I want to lead milk producer groups from all around the country in a united fight to ensure cut-throat competition between dairies and retailers is not allowed to erode the milk price that specialist farmers need to remunerate their higher production costs,” he said.
“The Committee has established that the cost of producing a litre of fresh milk and to pay a modest wage to the producer comes to around 40c/l. In the last 12 months, our annualised prices have averaged out only 30 to 31c/l, and this despite the fact that the retail returns for fresh milk, unlike global dairy markets, have remained very stable,” he said.
“I also intend to keep the focus on input costs, which uniquely impact liquid milk producers. We need to see the low grain prices reflected in much lower ration costs, and I fully support IFA’s campaign to obtain more competition in the fertiliser market with the elimination of EU import tariffs,” he added.
“I will be meeting with all dairies, retailers, regulators and other stakeholders over the coming months to impress on them the importance of making sure that fresh milk producers are remunerated fairly in the food chain,” he said.
Paying tribute to outgoing Chairman Teddy Cashman, John said: “Teddy has done a terrific job in demonstrating the unique value of fresh, locally produced milk for Irish consumers, and the need to sustain the livelihoods of specialist producers to secure constant supplies. It is my intention to continue with this important work”.