So nobody’s happy. The building of a cheese plant is on hold.

Two businesses working in the processing sector are struggling to plan.

Farmers are on hold and being asked to level the supply curve for less money and a higher cost on the environment.

There is no doubt that some farmers are very worried.

Playing by the rules

The environmentalists have lost on each account to try to block the investment.

Farmers continue to play by the many rules and directives that have been developed over the last 20 years in order to make their businesses more sustainable and more efficient.

We hear nonsense comparisons comparing Ireland to other European countries and often emotive and colourful language that almost suggests the end of the world is around the corner and we are all going to drown in milk.

Those pushing the agenda for capping milk production don’t realise ... the changes farmers are making

During the last few days, we heard the following from those opposed to the Belview development:

“It’s not just a huge plant that we are worried about, it’s the 450 million litres of milk that required to run it, which could really tip us over the edge.”

“Farmers are forced to a position where they have to chose between their short-term financial security or the future of the environment and all the people who depend on it.”

“Other European countries have had to reduce cow numbers.”

Those pushing the agenda for capping milk production don’t realise or are choosing to ignore the changes farmers are making and millions and millions that farmers are investing to bring change and make improvements.

Farmers are investing in nutrient storage, new machinery, better and improved technology, better genetics leading to improved productivity and hence economic and environmental sustainability.


However, instead, those opposed to growing the sector want to flatly deny or ignore any of this is happening.

Farmers realise that some individuals need to improve. Farmers want to make change. They’ve been changing practises for the last 50 years.

Those opposed to development will need a better argument, more data and solid science on where Irish farmers need to go.

Farmers need more data on what improvements are necessary, more work and science on the cost of managing nutrients and clear direction on what makes economic and environmental progress for their business. Little point investing on farm for no gain.

White elephants of processing plants are no good to farmers either. Losing inside the farmgate is bad enough without losing on investments outside the gate.

There has never been more of a need for a national processing strategy.

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