Huge amount of money pours into Laois farms from Glanbia but Kilkenny farmers earn the most

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Huge amount of money pours into Laois farms from Glanbia but Kilkenny farmers earn the most

Glanbia reveals how much it paid to farmers

The value of dairy farming to the rural economy in Laois and elsewhere is highlighted in new figures from Glanbia Ireland which show the company paid a total of €87 million for milk in the county last year.

Glanbia Ireland says 441 farm families supply milk in Co Laois. The milk price paid by the Group for the year was an average of 35 cent per litre, inclusive of VAT.

Laois ranked fifth in the table of counties supplying milk to the food giant. Kilkenny farmers topped the table drawing €192 million out of the company.

Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary were also ahead of Laois in the earnings table. See below.

On the broader business front, the firm says it delivered a solid performance in 2020 in spite of the global disruption caused by Covid-19.

It reports that revenue for 2020 stood at €1.9 billion, down 2.9%. Of this, a 2.1% drop was caused by volume decline with the balance due to modest price deflation over the period. The company reported profit after tax of €61 million.

A statement said that there was a sales decline in the Agribusiness part of the business because of very favourable weather conditions, leading to good grass growth and a consequent reduction in demand for both feed and fertiliser.

It adds that the domestic foodservice element of the Consumer business was significantly affected by the three lockdowns during much of 2020, but was cushioned by higher retail demand.

Commenting, Glanbia Ireland CEO, Jim Bergin, said: “Covid-19 significantly added to our operational challenges in 2020 but the speed at which the management team acted and adapted to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all was exemplary. Keeping milk on the shelves throughout the past year has been exceptionally challenging and tremendous credit goes to everyone who played their part.

“Milk volumes in 2020 increased by 4.9% on a like-for-like basis and the Group paid over €1.083 billion to milk suppliers, an increase of 3.8% on 2019. This represents a significant source of income for farm families, for our rural and regional economies and highlights the impact of dairy farming on villages and towns throughout rural Ireland where our suppliers live, work and spend their farm income.

“Investment in our digital platforms paid dividends. These include our fresh doorstep delivery business mymilkman.ie; our agri and gardening input business, Glanbia Connect, and a new business-to-business ingredients trading platform, Glanbia Direct. Each recorded significant growth. Customers really turned to trusted brands during the pandemic and this helped boost revenue.

“We have rallied in the face of adverse global as well as domestic conditions, with substantial growth in sales of UHT milk and cream into South East Asia. The Truly Grass Fed brand continues to be well-received in the US marketplace with good momentum building as distribution grows,” Jim Bergin added.

 Highlights for 2020 include:

-          Contributing over €1.08 billion to the rural economy in the form of milk payments, up €50 million from 2019;

-          Achieving Origin Green Gold Membership Status;

-          Surpassing the 3  billion litre processing threshold;

-          The Twenty20 Beef Club in association with Kepak being shortlisted in the Economic Value Creation – Support for Farmer Members category of the European Award organised by Cogeca;

-          Making capital investment of €35 million;

-          Construction of a new €15 million Innovation Centre in Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny, began and will deliver significant capabilities when it comes on stream in late 2021;

-          Purchasing 248,300 tonnes of grain;

-          Selling 395,000 tonnes of dairy products.