US in bid to attract Irish farmers

THE prairies of South Dakota in the American midwest are beckoning for Irish dairy farmers anxious to break free from EU quota restrictions.

The state, bordered by the Rocky Mountains, is in desperate need of farmers to take on 65,000 cows to supply milk to a cheese plant.

A team from South Dakota is in Ireland outlining the attractions of heading to the ancient stronghold of the Sioux Indians.

It used wild west wanted posters to invite people to meetings in Adare, Co Limerick, Cork city and Athlone.

Farmers are being told the state, home to five cheese processors, two fluid milk plants, one milk powder plant and one whey processor, is aggressively developing its dairy industry.

Low land prices, no state income taxes, no quotas, low production costs, financial and technical assistance, profitablility and a high demand for milk are among the incentives. South Dakota International Business Institute director Joop Bollen said: “All we want to do is show people what dairying is like in South Dakota. The price of land there is about one sixth what it is in Ireland and there is plenty of it available.”

ICMSA president Pat O’Rourke said he would not imagine the take-up on the offer would be substantial but that it was encouraging the world has woken up to the fact the skill of dairy farmers is in short supply.

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