“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.”
"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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