Despite recent concerns about the Irish dairy industry’s ability to deal with a global downturn in the dairy sector, Dairygold CEO Jim Wolfe still believes the scrapping of the quota system is good for his company, the farming community and the country as a whole.
Speaking to 200 people at a packed breakfast meeting in Mallow’s Hibernian Hotel, he outlined his views on the lifting of the quota system, the future for the dairy industry in Cork and his company’s plans for the future.
The event was organised by Mallow Development Partnership (MDP) and offered Mr Wolfe the opportunity to discuss all aspects of the sector, and the role the local area has to play in Dairygold’s plans.
“There was a real welcome for the lifting of the quota at the time after 30 years on constraint,” he said.
“People’s own individual enterprises were affected in that time. Some had a lot of land and were not able to produce milk from that land, others had other constraints.
“With the lifting of the quotas they were given a freedom to farm. That was an exciting time, of that there is no doubt but the cycles of the markets, of supply and demand, of excesses and shortages will continue.
“That has always been the way: even with the quota system in place these factors were at play so these will always continue,” Mr Wolfe said. “2009 was a great example of this, there were terrible market conditions that year and we were still subjected to the quota”
He was also keen to point out where his company was at present, after a massive investment of over €100m in their two local facilities, Mitchelstown and Mallow.
“We started with a huge investment in the Mitchelstown plant and finished that work in 2014.
“We then moved on to Mallow and this week we are commissioning the new factory here.
“That commissioning work coincides with (this) event so we felt it was important to let the people of the area know what we are up to.” Mr Wolfe was also keen to recognise the “great working relationship” that had continued to grow between MDP and Dairygold over the last year.
He was very complimentary of those running MDP and the influence they are having in the area.
“The MDP has been very encouraging and very helpful to Dairygold. The partnership is all about people with passion for the development of Mallow.
“I am really proud to be associated with it. The partnership has been able to give us channels into power and various arenas that perhaps wouldn’t have been accessible to ourselves.”
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