Tom Phelan has stepped down as IFA dairy chair to contest the Glanbia board seat recent chair Martin Keane is vacating.

Such opportunities only come along once a decade, it was now or never. Phelan won’t have a clear run. Abbeyleix farmer Noleen Callan is bidding to become the first woman elected to the board, and I’m hearing there might be a third contender. In the Castlelyons area, Patsy Ahern is facing competition for his Glanbia seat from Shane Fitzgerald. Meanwhile in the IFA, vice-chair Stephen Arthur is now acting dairy chair.

More combative than Phelan, he has already fired a salvo at Dairy Industry Ireland over how the base milk price is quoted.

Expect more of the same if he becomes permanent chair. His tenure as Fresh Milk Producers chair saw progress towards a new liquid milk price structure agreement with Glanbia.