In 2008, after 24 years of a rigid quota applying to EU dairy output, the Council of Agriculture Ministers took a major policy decision to abolish milk quotas. Dairying, with all the work done by Teagasc and others, was recognised as Ireland’s most competitive sector; but expansion for able, ambitious farmers had been extremely difficult due to the high price of buying or leasing quota – if it was available within the individual co-op area. When full notice was given that quotas would finally disappear in 2015, it was expected that there would be a surge in milk supply.
The Irish Farmers Journal, in line with its trust mandate to enhance the wellbeing of Irish agriculture, approached Glanbia. CEO John Moloney was on our board at the time, and it was decided to try and source a sizeable, suitable farm in either tillage or cattle production, to see if a new dairy unit could be established from scratch and pay back the development and associated costs using largely borrowed money.