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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Clare dairy farmer is new AHI chair  

The AHI board has announced the appointment of James Lynch, a “progressive” dairy farmer, as its new chair.

According to AHI, the Clare native has “in-depth” knowledge of the agri-food industry and “extensive” board experience at the “highest” level.

Committed to public service for more than fifteen years, James has dedicated his leadership capability, broad knowledge and wise counsel to boards, management teams and farmers across the Irish industry.

In these roles, he developed broad experience in corporate governance related to strategy, risk management, compliance, stakeholder engagement and communications.

AHI chair 

James’ involvement in the Irish agri-food industry spans many years. He was a board member of Dairygold Co-op for ten years, from 2008 until 2017.

During this time, he served as vice-chair from 2012-2014 and served as chair of the board from 2015-2017. He led the board and organisation in supporting the ethos of maximising returns for its members.

He actively participated in and helped create and support the strategic direction for the co-op preceding and post EU quota abolition.

During this time as co-op chair, James represented Dairygold Co-op on the ICOS board. He negotiated and supported implementing a code of conduct within co-operatives to support members with their milk supplies.

From 2015 – 2017, James was a board member and member of the rules committee in Ornua.

He successfully participated in dealing with the challenges of identifying and developing routes to markets and adding value to products against the backdrop of a rapid expansion of milk volumes at farm and processor level.

James’ understanding of the commercial landscape supported Ornua’s strategy to “strengthen and grow” its brand and exports internationally.

Other involvements 

He sat on the first board of the Munster Animal Breeding Group following its formal establishment in 2007. He became one of its longest-serving board members until he retired in 2015.

A key highlight of James’ time on the board was to support the development of Ireland’s second AI stud. It was built to manage the potential of disease and maximise biosecurity within the national stud.

During the period 2009 to 2015, as an ICBF board member, James worked with Teagasc and other industry stakeholders. The purpose was to develop and implement strategies to provide cattle breeding information services to the Irish dairy and beef industries.

In 2013, James was appointed as an industry expert to the Bord Bia Dairy Advisory Board to advise on the strategy required at farm and industry level to aid the marketing of Irish dairy produce across the globe. He remained on the advisory board until 2017.

Dairy farming 

Currently, James also sits on the National Animal Health Strategy Review Body that independently monitors the development and implementation of actions set out for collective participation among agri-food industry stakeholders to achieve optimal animal health in Ireland.

Apart from all his involvement in the industry bodies, readers will remember James and the Lynch family for hosting a visit to their farm in 2012 from the current Chinese Premier Xi Jinping.

The Chinese Premier visited the farm to observe the quality of milk production and farming techniques in operation in Irish agriculture.

Experience and expertise

Lynch said: “I am delighted to have been appointed chair of Animal Health Ireland.”

“I look forward to working with the board, the management team and all our various stakeholders.”

“In working to achieve the benefits for livestock producers and processors, AHI is best placed to deliver on our commitments for all our stakeholders to ensure a profitable and sustainable farming and agri-food sector into the future.”

“On behalf of the farmers of Ireland the board, I would to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Mike Magan for his leadership, hard work and dedication to AHI since this organisation was founded in 2009”.

David Graham, CEO, said,

“I congratulate James on his appointment as chair and look forward to working with him in this capacity.”

“His breadth of experience and expertise, gained both as a farmer and from a range of board activities, will benefit AHI as we continue our work to contribute to the sustainability of the sector,” he concluded.

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