Dairy farmer James Lynch from Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, has been appointed the new chair of the Animal Health Ireland (AHI) board.

Lynch is a progressive dairy farmer and his involvement in the Irish agri-food industry spans a great number of years.

His breadth of experience and expertise, gained both as a farmer and from a range of board activities, will benefit AHI as it continues its work to contribute to the sustainability of the sector, said AHI CEO David Graham.

"I congratulate James on his appointment as chair and look forward to working with him in this capacity," Graham said.

In his previous roles, Lynch has developed broad experience in corporate governance related to strategy, risk management, compliance, stakeholder engagement and communications.


He was a board member of Dairygold Co-op for 10 years from 2008 until 2017 and during this time he served as vice-chair from 2012 to 2014 and as chair of the board from 2015 to 2017.

During his time as chair, he led the board and organisation in supporting the ethos of maximising returns for its members.

He actively participated in, and helped to create and support, the strategic direction for the co-op preceding and post-EU quota abolition.

Code of conduct

James also represented Dairygold Co-op on the board of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) where he negotiated and supported the implementation of a code of conduct within co-ops to support members with their milk supplies.

From 2015 to 2017, James was a board member and member of the rules committee in Ornua.

He dealt with the key challenges of identifying and developing routes to markets and adding value to products against the backdrop of a rapid expansion of milk volumes at farm and processor level.

James’ understanding of the commercial landscape supported Ornua’s strategy to strengthen and grow its brand and its exports internationally.

Sitting on the first board of Munster Animal Breeding Group following its formal establishment in 2007, James became one of its longest serving board members until he retired in 2015.

A key highlight of James’ time on the board was to support the development of Ireland’s second AI stud, built to manage potential of disease and maximise biosecurity within the national stud.

On accepting the appointment, Lynch said he looks forward to "working to achieve the benefits for livestock producers and processors, AHI is best placed to deliver on our commitments for all our stakeholders to ensure a profitable and sustainable farming and agri-food sector into the future".