Yesterday saw the election of Pat McCormack as the new President of the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association.
Pat, who had served six years as Deputy President of the Association, is a 40-year-old dairy farmer from Co. Tipperary. He previously served as chair of the Dairy Committee and ran unopposed for his new position.
“It's an honour,” said Pat of his election.
“Coming from the little road I used to live on. I grew up seeing Sean Kelly as the president of the ICMSA in the 80’s, who is only a neighbour over the road. I also had the fortune of bumping into Jackie Cahill, on my ICMSA trip through the county.” he continued.
“It is certainly an honour to follow in their footsteps and indeed John Comers” he added.
Focus and Challenges:
Pat’s main focus for the coming three years, is to focus on the income of its members as well as milk prices.
“Our logo contains the farm family organisation and it is very much part of our organisation...It’s ultimately milk price, and net margin” he said of challenges facing them.
“We want to see our Farm management deposit scheme, delivered in the next budget. We feel that will have massive benefits in helping farm families absorb the volatility that’s out there” he added.
Milk prices are also a major challenge facing Pat’s term, though he says there is a strong supply of milk around the globe currently.
“We have seen a continuation of strong supplies...We would be concerned about milk price, but it’s not my job to make milk prices”
“We would be advising farmers to prepare for a more challenging year. It is always better to be prepared for the challenges that may not come than to be unprepared for challenges that do come” he advised.
Pat did say they will be encouraging processors to add value to their products, in a bid to obtain better prices for suppliers.
“We will also be encouraging processors to add value to their product range” he added.
He said with Ireland coming in at a seven % increase for the year and Storm Ophelia, this may have impacted prices in the back end of the year. Pat, when questioned, said there are many challenges facing the sector, two of which are water quality and the environment.
“The challenges facing the dairy sector are the environment and water quality. As farmers, it is in our interest that water quality is at the highest quality. We need to ensure that at farm level, but across the other stakeholders that contribute to water quality” he said.
Pat also listed Mercosur, Brexit and CAP as other issues facing agriculture as a whole. He said the ICMSA would continue to work within its traditional of rational and positive solutions aimed at ensuring that the voice of Ireland’s dairy farmers was heard ‘Loud and Clear’ in the formation of policy for our farming and agri-food sectors. He wants to now push the association on one step further and encourage more interaction from its members.
“I was deputy president for six years. I am very much in tune with what is happening and I would like to see our association become more active, internally with various different regional committees,” he said.
“We would also like our members to voice their opinions at meetings. This is where we formulate our lobby from” he added.
Message for John Comer:
When asked whether he had any words for the outgoing John Comer, Pat was full of praise for the man he succeeded.
“I would like John Comer for his guidance of the association and indeed his guidance and friendship to myself over the last six years,” said Pat.
“I wish him well for the future and I read there will be opportunities in the future that will present themselves to John Comer. If any man could debate any topic, it is certainly John Comer, “ he concluded.
Congratulations to the New President Pat McCormack, ahead of his three-year term. This was not the only positions filled yesterday as the position of Deputy President went to Cavan’s Lorcan McCabe, who also ran unopposed. Mr McCabe had previously chaired the Farm Business Committee with Shane O’Loughlin of Wicklow being elected to that vacancy. Well known Sligo farmer, Des Morrison, of Enniscrone, was elected to chair the Livestock Committee, while Kilkenny’s Denis Drennan was elected to chair the Farm & Rural Affairs Committee.