Millstreet meeting leaves unanswered questions

Dairygold’s new milk supply agreement has divided opinion among the co-op’s members, with many having signed up, but many more unhappy or seeking clarity on the seven-year contract.

At least one young farmer who attended the meeting, hosted by ICMSA in Millstreet on Tuesday evening, could see the positive side of planning for post-quota expansion.

Castletownroche farmer, Aoife Ladd, said: “I can understand why people have a problem with signing up for a seven-year contract. The older farmers may have their doubts about being stuck in a contract for seven years, but I don’t have any huge issue with the contract.

“Younger farmers who are in the 30+ age bracket may see themselves as being around in farming for much longer than the seven-year contract. I am willing to wait, and see what comes from the one-to-one consultations Dairygold is going to hold with members.”

One concerned farmer — who preferred to remain anonymous — said that Dairygold should consider a proposal from members in Millstreet that the co-op put the MSA on ice for 12 months to iron out aspects that members are unhappy with.

“This is the first time that members have ever been asked to sign a document like this,” said the Co Cork farmer. “This document has made both big and small farmers unhappy. One man said the contract would mean handing over €9,000 a year to the co-op.”

The man said members were being asked to make a huge sacrifice, which would impact upon the next generation of farmers. Any decision would need more time for reflection, he said.

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