IFA President John Bryan strongly criticised the Board of Glanbia for once again leading down milk prices, and called on them to show leadership on the issue of farmer ownership and control of processing. He said, “The move by Glanbia this week to once again lead down the milk price will hit their suppliers hard, cutting their 2012 incomes by an average of €13,000, which is around 30% of the average dairy farm income for the last three years. It’s a huge blow and at the very minimum it should jolt the board members out of their current paralysis in making decisions to ensure that we have farmer controlled and efficient processing facilities.”
Mr Bryan said that farmer patience was running out, and that important moves in the industry must be planned in good times, not when crises hit. “If the Glanbia Board were half as quick in making decisions to protect the interests of milk producers as they are when it comes to cutting milk price, then Glanbia milk suppliers could be confident that their interests were being fully safeguarded and not being left to the whim of the stock market.”
“I also urge the Dairygold Board Members to play their full part in ensuring that the current extensive co-operation arrangements they have with Glanbia are built upon, and can in due course better integrate the two processors to maximise efficiencies and investment potential,” he added.
The IFA President said the Glanbia Co-op Board must ensure that, in future, farmers are protected and milk price prioritised over investor returns. “There is a huge responsibility on the Glanbia Board to show leadership and make bold decisions that would facilitate greater integration, efficiency in the milk processing sector, and achieve important economies of scale and savings. This will help to reshape the core of the Irish dairy industry for the greater good of all dairy farmers,” he said.
“However, I don’t want other co-ops to think that they can afford to rest on their laurels. Some have reduced milk prices earlier and by more than the main processors, sending a very negative message to their suppliers as to their ability to secure their future. They too must reassure their suppliers that they have booked their place in the Irish dairy industry of the future,” he said.