Jerry Long, president of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS), has stated that all measures are being put in place to ensure that the processing industry remains operational through Covid-19.
Long spoke following an ICOS board meeting, held by conference call, and paid tribute to the efforts being made by the co-operative movement.
He stated that the ICOS board and co-ops were completely united in their commitment to work together to ensure that all milk is collected, processed and paid for while protecting the health and welfare of staff at this worrying time of national crisis.
He said that there was a long tradition of collaboration within the sector, and that this will work in our favour as we endeavour to weather the storm that is facing us. “We want to reassure farmers that all that is humanly possible will be done and is being done to keep the industry running through peak.”
“Farmers, like every other citizen, are worried about their own health, that of their families and their communities, and we want to give them every possible reassurance about their milk supply.”
“We will all be monitoring the development of this terrible disease over the coming weeks and working to keep staff safe and operating as normally as possible. If it becomes apparent that capacity could be constrained, farmers will be told, and if, as an absolute last resort, it becomes necessary to moderate milk supply by feeding calves or reducing concentrate feed for a temporary period, they will be told also.”
“For now, however, all plants are operating normally, and farmers need to ensure that cows are in good condition for the breeding season, so that should be the priority on farms”.
“We greatly appreciate their support and co-operation. Only by working together will we protect the health and safety of all involved in the milk production supply chain, which is an essential service, vitally important for keeping the supermarket shelves supplied with fresh and nutritious food,” he concluded.