Strathroy Dairy has issued a seven-point guarantee to Wexford Milk Producers (WMP), as the Co Tyrone-based milk processor strives to build momentum in its bid to secure the Wexford Creamery business.

These include a commitment to pay a minimum of the Glanbia price, no restriction on suppliers increasing production and no penalties for over or under production

“In addition, we will not be asking farmer suppliers to commit to long term contracts. Nor will there be penalties for suppliers wishing to cease supply,” Strathroy Dairies’ Ruairi Cunningham further explained.

“What’s more there will be no levies for processing facilities and spring milk producers will not be forced to supply winter milk.”

Cunningham was speaking in the wake of a meeting held for WMP members last Friday night, at which representatives of the Strathroy management team spoke.

He continued: “We were asked to put out hat in the ring for the Wexford business by a number of local milk producers. And I can confirm that 40 Wexford members have now committed to supply Strathroy, whether or not our bid is successful.

“Securing the Wexford Creamery business will represent a major step forward for Strathroy. We certainly believe that we can increase the volume of liquid milk processed at the plant. Obviously, Strathroy has no track record in cheese making. However, we would be keen to take the advice of the staff on this matter. Significantly, we have not been afforded the opportunity to speak any members of the current management team at Wexford.

Cunningham also stressed that the envisaged purchase of Wexford Creamery had nothing at all to do with Strathroy’s ongoing difficulties in securing the National Dairy Council logo on the liquid milk it supplies from Omagh.

“We have absolutely no intention of funnelling all our southern milk sales through the Wexford plant,” he commented.

“Such a move would constitute a sheer folly. We firmly believe that there is scope to develop both the Wexford and Strathroy businesses in tandem with each other.”

He concluded: “We are awaiting the adjudication of the Competition Authority on this matter. That may well take another two months. In the meantime we will continue to liaise with WMP members.

“We are genuinely interested in securing the Wexford business and firmly believe that we have a business plan that makes sense for everyone involved.”

Additional reporting Lisa Deeney