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Creed Chairs Dairy Forum - Forum Takes a Forward View of Sector Development

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., yesterday hosted his third meeting of the Dairy Forum with key stakeholders from the Irish dairy sector. The Forum provides the kind of collaborative strategic approach to which the Programme for Government is committed.

Yesterday’s discussions were very much focused on the strategic. Contributions from farm representative bodies, banks, industry representatives and state agencies focused on topics as diverse as Brexit, market issues, labour and financing needs arising from the dairy expansion and the potential of grass fed labeling in the market place. 

Specific actions were agreed in a number of areas. On market issues, Bord Bia provided an update on a market prioritisation exercise underway at the request of the Minister, which had identified an initial list of priority dairy markets in order to commence a deep dive analysis of market opportunities by November. It was also agreed that Bord Bia would use its market insights to inform a further examination of the prospects for grass fed labelling.

In relation to farm labour, the forum agreed on the establishment by Teagasc of a stakeholder group under the chairmanship of former Departmental Secretary General, Tom Moran, to implement a range of recommendations to address on farm labour shortage. Commenting on this development, Minister Creed said:

“The recent focus on labour shortages on dairy farmers is one of the challenges of a tremendously successful expansion. A lot of work has already been undertaken by my Department, Teagasc and industry in relation to this matter, and the establishment of this group under a very experienced chairman will bring a new focus to these efforts”. “

There was an also exchange of views with the main banks along with a presentation on the market outlook for next year from Ornua. Minister Creed commented: 

“One of my priorities under the Programme for Government will be to support the provision of lower cost and more flexible finance for the sector.  I will continue to work with all stakeholders, including the banking sector to ensure that maximum flexibility is afforded to farmers in order to help them manage their business in a volatile environment.”

Concluding, Minister Creed said:

The medium term market prospects for dairy are good. However, variables such as global supply, grain and oil prices, geopolitical and currency issues will continue to have a significant impact on prices. This forum is a really important vehicle for addressing the strategic challenges and opportunities for the sector. I am satisfied that we made good progress on some of these issues, and  I very much welcome the constructive engagement by stakeholders on a range of matters that will shape their industry into the future.”


Date Released: 26 September 2017