McConalogue calls for continued environmental efforts in Dairy Forum

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has chaired his first meeting of the Dairy Forum, using the occasion to call for continued efforts on the environmental sustainability of the sector.

The meeting took place today (Wednesday, September 30) and featured the key stakeholders in the sector.

Farm organisations; the primary and secondary processing sectors; and banking and state agencies all had representatives present.

The forum included a discussion on the market situation; an update on the agri-food strategy for 2030; access to finance; and presentations from both the Department of Agriculture and the revenue commissioners on Brexit.

The minister noted the efforts of those in the sector in keeping supply chains moving during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Keeping milk and dairy products moving from farm to processor to the marketplace has taken a Herculean effort by all here today. It reflects the commitment and collective effort which characterises the dairy sector in Ireland,” he commented.

Minister McConalogue also acknowledged the work being done in relation to the environmental performance of the sector, and called for that work to be maintained.

“As the agri-food sector, we will be asked to increase our ambition in terms of mitigating impacts on the environment in the future,” he said.

This is an ask that is being put on all sectors of the economy and agriculture will have to play its part.

On the issue of calf welfare, the minister said that “the highest standards must be maintained”.

“I believe that we can collectively rise to the many challenges facing us and build on opportunities for future sustainable growth. I look forward to seeing continuous, strong engagement from the group as its work progresses,” Minister McConalogue concluded.