IFA President Tim Cullinan said that the announcement by Glanbia today that it intends to manage growth in peak milk production from 2022 is effectively the first step towards a milk quota for Glanbia suppliers and will cost farm families money.
“Since 2015, farmers have optimised their milk production through efficient use of our grass-based production system. Farmers are now being asked to produce more milk at times of the year when production costs are higher. This decision will cost farmers money,” he said.
“The vindictive court action by An Taisce has impacted Glanbia’s plans, but the company has a responsibility to its suppliers. It will be farmers who are developing and potential future entrants to dairying who will carry the can,” he said.
“Dairy expansion has given a huge boost to the rural economy, allowing farm families to have a sustainable future. Now farmers again find their business ambitions restricted. Since 2015, dairy farmers have invested over €2bn and processors have invested a similar amount of farmers’ money in new facilities,” he said.
“While An Taisce might think they are impacting on big business, it’s farm families who will be impacted by their actions,” he said.
IFA National Dairy Chairman Stephen Arthur, who is a Glanbia supplier himself, said many suppliers have significant financial commitments and Glanbia must ensure that farmers with development plans are facilitated in achieving their targets.
“If farmers are being asked to shift their milk supply pattern away for the most efficient time of the year, then they must be properly compensated,” he said.
“There are also fundamental questions about how this decision impacts on the Milk Supply Agreement between farmers and Glanbia,” he said.
“We are very concerned about what appears to be a two-tier milk pricing policy and the precedent this sets,” he said
IFA will be meeting with Glanbia management this evening.