The newly formed Munster Dairy Producer Organisation (MDPO) has been approached informally by processors about supplying their milk, an online meeting this week heard.

In response to a question asking if the group had been approached by any processors, Limerick dairy farmer Martin Crowe who facilitated the meeting said there had been “soundings”.

“There have been soundings alright,” he said.

Crowe then referenced an article printed in the Irish Farmers Journal in December in which Tirlán CEO Jim Bergin said the company would be open to negotiating with the producer organisation (PO).

“You saw the article from Tirlán around Christmas time, they are open to negotiations with organisations.

“When we get membership, we’ll know exactly where we’re at. We can go from there,” Crowe added.

Approval within a week

The MDPO is currently waiting for formal recognition of its PO status from the Department of Agriculture.

Barrister Ciaran Dolan, an approved PO facilitator who applied to the Department of Agriculture on behalf of the group, said he expects to get formal recognition in the next week.

“I hope that we will get formal recognition within a week.

“To a large extent, from consultations with the Department, I’m reasonably happy that the rule book in its present state will be acceptable to the Department; there will not be any material changes.

“It’s up then to the PO how it opens up membership. After a certain period - and it’s up to the interim council what that period is - when do you actually commence seeking negotiations with Kerry and other potential purchasers of your milk?” he said.

Crowe told the meeting that once the group gets formal recognition, it will open for membership via an application form on a website.

More than one processor

The meeting held on Thursday night on Zoom was attended by over 200 people. It was originally to take place in the Longcourt House Hotel in Newcastle West, Co Limerick, but was moved online due to the cold weather.

In response to a question, Crowe said he felt the group would be willing to negotiate with more than one processor.

“There is no reason in the wide earthly world why, say for arguments sake, if we had 150m litres of milk, why 70m litres couldn’t go to one co-op and the other 80m litres could go to another processor.

“All this stuff is open. We have two years to get this straight and get this right. We have plenty of time. That would be my opinion, I’m only one person here,” he said.


Dolan presented to the meeting a summary of the application made to the Department of Agriculture, including the rules of the PO.

When the body is officially recognised, an interim council will be put in place.

MDPO members will elect nine members to the council 12 to 18 months after the establishment of the interim council.

The group’s secretary Rosaleen O’Reilly gave a summary of the history of the group to date. “We’re not anti anyone, we’re pro farmers,” she said.

A presentation was made at the meeting by an English dairy producer organisation (DPO), Cornwall-based Davidstow Creamery Direct DPO.

MDPO has a steering committee of 21 farmers from Limerick, Kerry and Clare.

The group is made up of suppliers to Kerry who wish to join a producer organisation. MDPO will be open to negotiations with both Kerry and other producers for their milk.

Suppliers to Kerry are under contract until April 2026, but are not tied in beyond that date.

At the meeting, it was asked if suppliers to other creameries could join, which the meeting heard the rules allowed for.

The next MDPO meeting will take place in April.

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Kerry suppliers meet this week to move forward with producer organisation