BY EMMA CONNOLLY
WEST Cork farmers are being warned that time is running out for them to get their ‘houses in order’ and join the Bord Bia Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme.
And, they are being told in no uncertain terms that unless they have their audit carried out and certification to out to show they’re on board, their milk will not be collected.
In fairness, the feedback from the four West Cork coops is that compliance is strong among the 1,400 farmers with Bandon, Barryroe, Lisavaird and Drinagh.
Eleanor Hayes, dairy manager with Lisavaird, said she did not think it was going to develop as an issue in the area.
In fact she said West Cork was coming out tops in with the majority of farmers already on board with the scheme.
She said she was only aware of one single supplier who had yet to be audited and certified and he was currently dry and still had time to get organised.
Paddy Barrett of Carbery agreed that plenty of notice had been given to suppliers since the matter was passed at board level some months back. But, he said, the message was clear: anyone who was not certified would not have milk collected.
A penalty of 5c a litre, which was introduced some months back, served as a useful tool to get farmers to comply. This penalty is refundable by year end.
The scheme was designed to help secure new and existing markets for dairy farmers in the post-quota era. Developed in association with milk producers, processors and regulatory authorities, it was designed to assess and record data to demonstrate the sustainability of Irish dairying in a systematic way.