Report NameA Co-ops role in helping dairy farms to remain viable in marginal farming areas
Owen Brodie is married to Rose Mary and they have three teenage children Megan, Luke and Niamh. They run a grass based spring calving dairy farm, milking 180 cows on 63ha in Munterconnaught along the shores of Lough Ramor near Virginia in Co. Cavan. They supply milk to Lakeland Dairies Co-op. Half of the milking block is leased from two neighbours and all heifers are reared under contract 16km away. Areas such as Cavan, are the backbone of the Irish dairy industry, supplying a large volume of milk from many small and medium sized dairy farms. The money they have made has provided large areas of rural Ireland with a good income and has been used to rear and educate many people from those areas. Dairy farm size will grow, in areas with large areas of good land. What will happen to places like Cavan and how can the local co-op help to make areas with small milking platforms and difficult soils good to dairy farm in? Owen intends to travel to Wisconsin in North America, Holland, Germany, Brittany in Northern France and New Zealand to study how dairy farms have changed in the traditional dairy regions around the world. Owen is hoping to find systems and procedures that will enhance the relationship between the dairy farmer and their Co-op, for the benefit of both over time.