Laois farmer elected as the new IFA National Dairy Chairman

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Laois farmer elected as the new IFA National Dairy Chairman

Tom Phelan making a presentation to Sean O’Leary, outgoing Chair of IFA’s National Dairy Committee

Laois dairy and beef farmer Tom Phelan has been elected Chairman of the IFA National Dairy Committee, succeeding Sean O’Leary at the end of his term.

Tom farms with his wife Caroline and children Martin, Karen and Marie-Thérèse in Pike-of-Rushall, and supplies creamery milk to Glanbia. 

Tom has a strong track record of farmer representation. He has chaired his local Glanbia area and regional committees, he was Macra na Feirme Laois County Chairman and has had significant experience within IFA, serving on the Dairy and Farm Business Committees and as County Chairman for Laois.  He has also been representing the National Dairy Committee on the IFA Animal Health Project Team. 

Outlining his key priorities, Tom Phelan said, “I am conscious that I am starting my term as Chair of the National Dairy Committee after a strong year for dairy trade and milk prices, and with more challenging market conditions ahead."

 Speaking about his priorities as Chairman, Tom Phelan said:

·  “Optimising milk prices will remain my top priority.  Nothing has a bigger impact on dairy farmers’ incomes. 

·   Volatility is continuing to challenge dairy farmers’ incomes.  We need to develop more income risk management tools.

·   We must defend the farm family model, as it is intrinsic to our farming industry.

·   While recognising that sustainability is a very important issue for the entire industry, farmers must see a return for their effort.

· Our ability to attract and retain labour onto dairy farms will be crucial.

· The dairy industry has enormous potential to deliver for farmers and for the Irish economy.  However, future industry planning must be based on deliveringsustainable returns for farmers, rather than be purely supply driven.