An “industry-wide solution” is required for the dairy calf dilemma, according to Ornua CEO John Jordan.

Speaking to AgriLand at the official opening of Ornua’s €30 million cheese facility in Avila, Spain, yesterday, the CEO was asked if Irish dairy processors need to be doing more on the matter.

“It’s certainly a discussion topic higher on the agenda in recent months and one that will require an industry-wide solution,” he said.

“Certainly from an Ornua perspective, the treatment and animal welfare in general is high on our agenda.

It’s critical that we have an industry that consumers have faith and trust in, and in general the conditions that Irish animals are managed on farm level are of an exceptionally high standard.

“Certainly the issue of bull calves is high on the agenda across the entire industry and I think we’ll have to come up with a collective solution going into the future.

“The processors would be a critical part of that – the Government, Ornua, processors, farmers, everybody – an industry-wide solution is required for this,” Jordan said.

Facing new competition

Moving onto the topic of Ornua’s Kerrygold brand and its new competition in the form of Glanbia’s Truly Grass Fed (TGF) offering, the CEO said:

“Glanbia is an important shareholder of Ornua; we have a great working relationship. Obviously they sit on the Ornua board and are an active member of that board.

“With regard to TGF, the way we’d look at that is that we welcome competition in any market; we’re in 110 countries around the world with Kerrygold and face a lot of competition on a daily basis.

We believe in the Kerrygold brand; we believe in our brand strategy, we invest heavily in its growth, we believe in the people on the ground we have around the world to execute it, so we’re very confident that we’ll still maintain and see growth in the Kerrygold brand globally. 

Finally, on Ornua’s ongoing governance restructuring, Jordan said:

“It’s been in the media that Ornua is reviewing board governance structures; I’m not on the board so it’s not appropriate for me to comment – but I would say that the directors are determined to do what’s best for Ornua, its shareholders and ultimately the farmers.”