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Statement re Dairy Industry 5th March 2015

I have today welcomed the statement by Minister Simon Coveney during a Dail debate on Wednesday that up to 10,000 jobs could be created as a result of the dairy industry regime change that is coming about on April 1st.  I hope that milk production industries such as that which exists in Ballaghaderreen can also grow during the new arrangements.

“We have to make sure there is a regional balance to production. The Minster said that on the Dublin road out of Cork, there is a €80 million plant and on the Limerick road, there is a €130 million plant but, sadly, he did not make announcements relating to when he took the Boyle road out of Carrick-on-Shannon or the Roscommon road out of Ballinasloe. I did not hear any announcement relating to the west and I would like an emphasis to be put on that”

If there are 50% more dairy cows on farms, that situation might play into the hands of the big beef companies. “We have to make sure there is a regional balance to production. If there are more cows producing more milk, will we be playing into the beef barons’ hands? In recent years, the more cattle that were in the country, the greater the capacity they had to press the button in their factories when they were ready for killing and this enabled them to drop their prices and screw the farmer. I am worried about this. Calves born out of the dairy herd must continue to be exported. There needs to be a vibrant export market for calves or we will have a repeat of what happened a few years ago which is in no one’s interest”

“I also urge the Minster to incentivise young farmers as much as he can. Some young farmers have missed out on the upcoming change. He should examine their position again because we need young farmers. We used to have 300,000 farmers but we are down to 120,000. I ask him to make sure the beef sector and the sucker cow sector are not taken apart”