The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney is setting up a dairy forum to monitor the expansion within the industry.

Dairy expansion needs to happen in a managed and controlled way. we have to plan for the challenges before they arrive. it needs to be as smooth a journey of growth and expansion as possible, he said.

“We are going to set up a dairy forum to monitor, modelled on the beef forum, to ensure all stakeholders in the industry are part of the discussion around monitoiring progress here year on year, month on month. It will meet two to three times a year and I will chair it,” he told the Dail.

He also said that the next five years of dairy expansion can deliver about 10,000 new jobs for rural Ireland.

“We are moving from producing 5.5bn litres of milk a year to close to 8bn litres of milk per year.

“It’s an exciting period and its an opportunity for all political parties concerned about the future of rural Ireland a chance to talk about their concerns.”

He also said it is important that dairy farmers don’t end up working for the banks and building up a lot of debt to expand. “We need a banking system that is cautious in how it lends. They could improve their rates though.”