Success or failure will be based on strength of milk price

Glanbia Co-op’s approval to take ownership of Glanbia Ireland (GI) this week, has put full control of the co-op back in the hands of its farmer shareholders.

Just under 4,000 shareholders voted at a special general meeting yesterday (Friday, December 17), with more than 80% of voters giving a green light to the acquisition by the co-op of Glanbia plc’s 40% share of GI.

But, as the dust settles on this milestone €307 million deal, the president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), Pat McCormack, has said that the the new board’s competence will be based on the strength of the milk price it pays to its farmers.

Milk price, he said, takes precedence over everything else.

“First, second, and last their competence will be judged on their ability to climb the milk price league from the lowly position they have been occupying for an unforgivably long time,” he said.

“It’s very important that the board understands and accepts the responsibility that they asked for and, which now, has been granted to them.”

That responsibility, he said, is to “pay the highest milk price commensurate with the prudent direction of the entity”.

“The days are long, long, gone when farmers were unable to establish exactly what their [milk] price should be. We have access to exactly the same information as the processors and can analyse the markets just as closely,” he said.

“Speaking for ICMSA, we will always be open to broader developments that benefit the farmer suppliers, but as far as we are concerned, milk price takes precedence over anything else.

“It’s just as well that everyone knows – right at the start of something that we want to be positive for the farmer suppliers and everyone else concerned – that this is the measure by which success or failure will be decided,” said McCormack.

Glanbia vote – IFA reaction

Meanwhile, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) dairy chairman, Stephen Arthur, echoed the milk-price message, saying that the onus on the board and the management is to pay a strong price to farmers that secures their livelihoods.

They also have to run the business efficiently and leanly so it can maintain a market-leading return to its suppliers while remaining profitable, he added.

IFA grain chairman, Mark Browne, said grain farmers will also expect the new model to pay a market-leading price for the crops supplied by farmers.

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