Mr Farrell has retired as chief executive of Connacht Gold, which has a turnover of €250 million, employs over 600 people, processes some 50 million gallons of milk annually and has 15,000 farmer shareholders.
In 1986, he became the chief executive of North Connacht Farmers’ Co-operative (NCF), which merged with Kiltoghert Co-op in 2000 to form Connacht Gold.
Minister Treacy said that under Michael Farrell’s guidance, Connacht Gold has become a powerful regional rural business, which encapsulates all that is great about local communities and the co-operative ethos.
Now the major dairy processing enterprise in the west of Ireland, is also involved in a wide range of other activities, including feed milling, retail stores, livestock marts, timber saw-milling and mushroom production.
“Michael recognised the need for Connacht Gold, to be a profitable and forward looking business, while at the same time appreciating the co-operative values of fairness, equity, democracy and mutual support,” he said.
Mr Treacy said Michael Farrell could be considered to be one of the first to recognise the concept of rural development. For many years, he has actively encouraged non-agricultural activities in the West of Ireland.
Mr Treacy also congratulated Connacht Gold’s new chief executive Aaron Forde.