Tirlán CEO Jim Bergin had plenty to say when he sat down for an interview with the Irish Farmers Journal.

He is clearly frustrated with the lack of leadership on the issue of the nitrates derogation, saying that the loss of it would be a “catastrophe” for both farmers and rural Ireland. He called for a “JFK moment” for someone to take control of the issue.

Perhaps controversially, he suggested that things “could have been worse” for dairy farmers in 2023 in terms of milk prices, but warned the outlook remains uncertain for global demand into 2024.

On Tirlán’s own future, he said the co-op would be taking a lot of its supply back in-house to feed the news cheese facility, which is expected to consumer 400m litres in 2024 and 500m litres a year after that.

He also said that Tirlán is open to new suppliers, and would be willing to talk to farmers supplying other processors once they are out of contract, and subject to normal ICOS rules.

A recent Tirlán census of milk suppliers, which had a more than 80% response rate, showed the more than half of dairy farmers are looking to invest in solar, while one of the biggest problems highlighted was the lack of available labour.