The Munster Dairy Producer Organisation (MDPO) now has over 200 members, as the public information meetings come to an end.

The group addressed over 500 people across the three meetings in the last week, across counties Limerick, Clare and Kerry.

MDPO interim chair, James Doyle said that the numbers “show there is a lot of concern out there from dairy farmers”.

He said that seeing current member numbers and by looking at the average milk supply, which is around 500,000L, that the organisation now represents about 100 million litres.

The most recent meeting was held in Co. Clare yesterday (Thursday, July 4), where 120 people attended.

Farmers at the meeting raised the issue of living in a location where milk may not be viable for collection.

Doyle said that the MDPO was the “only organisation” able to guarantee that milk would be collected no matter the location.

“We have made a decision that no matter where we get a contract, that will be our priority. If that’s not possible for the processor, then we won’t be going with that processor,” Doyle said.

Munster Dairy Producer Organisation

The plan going forward is to focus on making inquiries into where milk is needed.

“The milk belongs to the dairy farmers themselves. No one has any claim to the milk, no processor or organisation,” Doyle said.

“All we’re looking for is membership to negotiate collectively for those milk suppliers. The membership is a licence to do that.

“After that then, if we find some places looking for milk and they are prepared to give us a good contract that will satisfy our member, we will go back to our members and it is still up to them what they want to do with their milk,” Doyle added.

Doyle said that the new organisation came about from “desperation, frustration and a lack of representation”.

He said that “those are the same reasons” farmers are supporting the MDPO.

“We would be hoping to see a lot more membership numbers over the next few weeks, because there were membership forms available to take at all three meetings,” Doyle said.

Those that want to join the organisation are free to do so at any point through applying online or by getting in contact with other members.