Retaining farmer control over routes to market is essential - ICOS president
The ICOS conference on Thursday was attended by co-operative leaders from all over Ireland, including dairy processors, national livestock marts and community-based enterprises.

“Retaining farmer control over our routes to market is essential and this requires continuing investment, growth and development of our co-operatives,” ICOS president Michael Spellman told the 42nd the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) National Conference in Naas, Co Kildare on Thursday.

“The directors of co-operatives operate in a very complex business environment with a responsibility to run them prudently, to establish an appropriate risk appetite and to manage those risks appropriately.”

Continued commitment

"That takes continued commitment on our part to invest in and to commit to our businesses that previous generations worked so hard to build," Spellman said.

He added that risk and opportunity must be seen as the two sides of the same coin.

“If we can effectively manage, embrace and monetise the risks that surround us, then our businesses should continue to grow and prosper.”

The ICOS conference was addressed by FBD CEO Fiona Muldoon; John Jordan, CEO of Ornua and Guy Smith, deputy president of the National Farmers Union (UK).

ICOS represents over 130 co-operatives in Ireland

A series of workshops addressed sustainability, mart health and safety and corporate risk within the co-operative sector including concepts of environmental sustainability as the ‘new quota’, the challenges around water quality, greenhouse gases, ammonia emissions from farming and the preservation and promotion of biodiversity.

ICOS represents over 130 co-operatives in Ireland – including the Irish dairy processing co-operatives and livestock marts – whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of €14bn, with some 150,000 individual members.

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Arrabawn holds December milk price
The processor is the most recent to announce that its milk price will be unchanged.

Arrabawn has decided to hold its price for December milk at 30.6c/l excluding VAT.

The price has remained unchanged for several months.

Most co-ops opted to leave milk prices unchanged for December.


Dairygold announced that it will hold their December milk price at 30.36c/l excluding VAT.

The price is inclusive of a 0.5c/l quality bonus based on standard constituents of 3.3% protein and 3.6% butterfat.

The co-op has also held this price for several months.

Lakeland Dairies, Glanbia and Kerry Group held their price at 30.4c/l (excluding VAT) for December milk supplies.

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Dairygold holds December milk price

Aurivo and Carbery set milk prices for December

The farmer's daily wrap: low-cost loans and BDGP map
Check out the latest headlines and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather forecast.

Weather forecast

A status yellow nationwide snow and ice warning is in place from 7pm Monday 21 January until 9pm the following day.

According to Met Éireann, hill and mountain areas are expected to be the worst affected.

Frost and ice are predicted and temperatures will dip to -1°C, with fresh winds.

In the news

  • Minister Creed has said some 2,511 farmers are yet to pass the approval process for their BDGP payment.
  • Vets have criticised the Department’s level of action in the run-up to Brexit.
  • Grant funding of up to €25,000 is available to farmers participating in GLAS to restore traditional farm buildings and structures.
  • Farmers will have to draw down a minimum of €50,000 to access the next low-cost loan scheme.
  • Social Farming is set to double the number of its farmer participants from 60 to 120, according to its annual report.
    Minimum €50,000 draw-down for low-cost loans
    Farmers will have to draw down a minimum of €50,000 to access the next low-cost loan scheme.

    The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) has confirmed details of the Future Growth Loan Scheme, including that farmers will have to apply for a minimum of €50,000 to avail of the scheme.

    The long-awaited low-cost loan scheme will offer eligible businesses and farmers loans at an interest rate of 4.5% or less.

    The maximum draw down is €3m and the loans are for terms of between eight and 10 years.

    Banks have been invited to apply to distribute the new low-cost loan scheme, with Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank all having previously expressed interest in taking part in the scheme.

    Loans in March

    Up to €300m is available under the scheme, which is being developed in conjunction with the SBCI, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Business.

    Minister for Business Heather Humphreys previously told the Irish Farmers Journal that she hopes to see the loan scheme fully operational by March this year.

    Financial institutions have until 11 February to submit their applications to become lending partners.

    Previous scheme

    Under the previous low-cost loan scheme, the interest rate was set at 2.95%, with loan terms available between 18 months and three years.

    A total fund of €150m was available, with roughly €145m drawn down by farmers. By October last year, some €47.5m had been repaid.

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    Where is the low-interest loan fund?