Clare farmer elected chairman of ICOS’s National Marts Committee

A combined suckler and dairy farmer from Kilrush, Co. Clare, has been elected chairman of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society’s (ICOS’s) National Marts Committee.

Liam Williams – who is a board member of ICOS and chairman of Clare Marts – will succeed Michael Spellman as chairman of the National Marts Committee.

Spellman was recently elected president of ICOS.

Also Read: Spellman elected as new president of ICOS

Commenting on his appointment, Williams said: “Co-operative livestock farming and our associated marts make an integral contribution to the economic wellbeing of rural communities and to the success of our national agri-food industry.

“We are operating at a time of considerable challenge and change for our industry – particularly in light of proposed changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the ongoing Mercosur trade talks and Brexit.

“We will continue ever more vigorously to promote the best interests of co-operative livestock farming in this context.

We will progress the measures being taken to promote enhanced health and safety in marts, overall risk reduction and a reduction in spiralling insurance costs.

Continuing, the Clare farmer added that farmers will also need to remain vigilant in relation to “unfair trading practices at play in other parts of the food chain, where there is ongoing discrimination by vested interests towards the free trade and competitiveness that marts represent”.

He also stressed that marts need to “constantly adapt” to new technology.

ICOS will continue its mart modernisation programme, with a focus on “data to support trading through the marts on the basis of high-quality information for farmers – which will be of widespread benefit to the Irish livestock sector”.

Concluding, Williams said: “I am grateful for the trust placed in me through my election by the ICOS National Marts Committee. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure the continuing vibrancy and progress of the co-operative livestock marts sector throughout Ireland.”

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 €14 billion.