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Jim Bergin gives Keynote Address at the Annual ASA Conference

All Dairy

“By the end of this year, milk supply to Glanbia in Ireland will have grown by 34% in three years,” Jim Bergin, Chief Executive of Glanbia Ireland told the annual conference of the Agricultural Science Association (ASA) in Killashee House Hotel, Naas on Friday 8 September.

The event on Friday, which is the leading agricultural conference in Ireland, attracted over 400 delegates. Other speakers at the conference included EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, Nicola Shadbolt, a board member with Fonterra and Jereon Elfers, Head of Co-operative Affairs with Friesland Campina.

The event was organised by the ASA under the presidency of Mary Delaney, Head of Equine & Tillage with Glanbia Agribusiness.

Jim Bergin told the ASA conference that Glanbia has invested €270m in Irish milk processing assets since 2013 and has now a diverse processing base across a range of products. There is now increased focus on investing in Research & Development, Quality and Innovation, he said. Extracting more value from each litre of milk is now a key focus, he added.

When asked about the milk price that Glanbia Ireland will pay to Irish farmers, Jim Bergin said that it would pay a “strong, competitive price” and would be judged on its position in the annual KPMG Milk Price Review.

On the dairy market outlook, Jim Bergin warned that the current record price for butter was “unsustainable” and was causing severe challenges along the supply chain. He noted that milk production in Europe’s two largest producers, France and Germany, was beginning to recover and New Zealand was likely to have a good season, given the prevailing price forecast. Weather as always would play a key role, he said.

Jim Bergin highlighted the movement in the exchange rate between the dollar and the euro, which would likely impact on dairy markets in 2018. The weaker dollar would allow the US to compete more strongly on international markets, he said. “Since milk quota abolition, Europe has not played against the US with a “normal” dollar,” Jim Bergin said.

First Published 11 September 2017

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