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Milk Collection and Covid-19

“All that is humanly possible will be done, and is being done to keep the industry running through peak.”

Speaking following an ICOS board meeting, held by conference call, ICOS President Jerry Long paid tribute to the efforts being made by the co-operative movement, and in particular, their management and staff on behalf of milk supplying members, to ensure that factories can continue to operate at peak.

Jerry Long said that the ICOS Board and co-ops were 100% united in their commitment to working together, and pooling resources, 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’s 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”.

Mr. Long concluded by calling on members and patrons of co-ops to strictly follow the physical distancing protocols and HSE guidelines in place for milk collection and within local co-op branches. “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.”