The first IFA regional dairy meeting will take place in Kilkenny tonight, where speakers will address future markets for the extra Irish milk to be produced after 2015, and the need to adjust on-farm and processing expansion plans with market demand.
IFA Dairy Chairman Kevin Kiersey said, “The senior management, chairmen and board members of each local co-op have been invited, and we would like to see as many local dairy farmers as possible attending,” he added.
Mr Kiersey explained that the meeting would first be addressed by a representative from the Irish Dairy Board on the theme of “What markets for our extra milk?”, outlining the opportunities which are undoubtedly available for Irish milk producers thanks to a rising consumer middle class in China, South East Asia and various other developing countries.
The meeting will then examine the issues around the necessity, before the end of the quota regime, to develop a system guaranteeing farmers security of tenure and clarity as to the quantities of milk they will be able to sell to their milk purchasers after 2015. This system will also need to facilitate the fair distribution among farmers of expansion opportunities within individual co-ops and fair access for new entrants.
“Little enough reflection has as yet taken place at co-op level on these issues, yet they will be critical for farmers, and need to be planned out well in advance of 2015. This is why IFA wants to raise awareness among farmers, and provoke the necessary debate, with a view to finalising our policy on this matter before year-end,” Kevin Kiersey said.
Further meetings will be held during August and September at venues in or near Limerick, Tullamore, Cavan and Castlebar. Details will be conveyed to the relevant co-ops and publicised for local farmers in due course.