Speaking after a special meeting of the IFA National Dairy Committee, IFA President Tim Cullinan said both Glanbia and the Government have a responsibility to milk suppliers who will be impacted by Glanbia’s peak milk supply policy.
“A core principle of the Glanbia Milk Supply Agreement/contract is that all the farmers milk will be purchased at the price set by the Glanbia Ireland Board. Saying that a proportion of milk will not be purchased, or will be purchased at a penalised price, due to no fault of the farmer, is not consistent with the Milk Supply Agreement,” he said.
The processing capacity issue must be dealt with on a voluntary basis in full co-operation with individual farmers. In this regard, the proposals around the voluntary retirement scheme and the voluntary milk reduction scheme should be expanded and funded by Glanbia Ireland to try and address the problem.
“Glanbia must be prepared to accept reduced profits for the next three years to fund some of these voluntary measures,” he said.
IFA National Dairy Chairman Stephen Arthur said that up until recently Glanbia were actively encouraging expansion and canvassing for new entrants.
“While farmers are rightly raging with An Taisce and frustrated with the planning process, it’s wrong that individual farmers are the ones forced to carry the can. To expect farmers to adjust their calving patterns and at such short notice is just unrealistic,” he said.
“We acknowledge the efforts Glanbia have made to address the concerns of farmers by making changes to their proposals. However, they must go further. No farmer can have their livelihood put at risk,” he said.
IFA also wishes to confirm that Glanbia sought a meeting with us last November to brief us on the judicial review being initiated by An Taisce.
At that meeting, Glanbia were clear that they preferred to deal with the matter behind the scenes. IFA respected that position.
At a meeting with IFA this week, Glanbia revised this position and rightly called out An Taisce for their reprehensible actions.
“It is outrageous that An Taisce, an unelected elite, would seek to damage the livelihoods of farm families through spurious planning objections,” he said.
“The Government must change our planning process to tighten up the basis on which planning objections can be made, and to limit the number of appeal avenues open to people. The current system is doing untold damage and is a crank’s charter,” he said.