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Minister Simon Coveney T.D. Opens the National Dairy Show, Millstreet, Co. Cork - 15th October 2011

Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine today officially opened the National Dairy Show in Millstreet, Co. Cork.

Opening the event, the Minister said "The show here in Millstreet has for nearly three decades attracted the best pedigree dairy stock from around the country to compete in a range of competitions. The superb indoor location in the Green Glens arena allows for a comfortable setting to view some of the best Holstein Friesian cattle from the top breeders in the country. A host of trade stands, sale of elite breeding animals, and a farming forum to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the industry ensured a worthwhile day out for visitors"

The Minister also praised the high standard of entry in all classes at the show. He added "this high level of competition bodes well for the future of Irish dairy farming. The IHFA have shown great leadership in working with Teagasc, AHI and ICBF in developing policies that will help drive a profitable dairy sector and help implement the targets set out in Food Harvest 2020. Pedigree breeders here today who produce quality cattle have a key role in driving profitability in our vital dairy and beef sectors."

Minister Coveney commented on the strong performance of dairy markets this year, which have fully recovered from the 2009 downturn.  He also said "While there will always be fluctuations in dairy prices, it is important to remember that the medium term prospects for global dairy markets are good, as growth in wealth and population is forecast to stimulate strong levels of demand for dairy products. Ireland is well placed to benefit from this and Food Harvest 2020 targets a 50% increase in growth in our dairy production over the next decade".

Bearing in mind the renewed pressures on milk quotas that are likely to continue in the lead up to quota abolition in 2015, Minister Coveney reminded dairy farmers of the importance of producing within quota.  While Ireland is continuing in its efforts to ensure a soft landing for farmers in all member states, there is little appetite at European level to re-open the Health Check agreement.  The Minister said "It is worthwhile again to make the point that all milk producers must continue to observe quota limits, and not run the risk of incurring a potentially very damaging super levy. Deliveries so far in this quota year continue to run ahead of quota nationally.  All dairy farmers must carefully plan their production activities and pay close attention to the limitations imposed by the quota regime".

Minister Coveney thanked the organisers for the significant effort over the past year in organising such a successful show. Concluding, he wished all the visitors and entrants a successful and enjoyable event.

Date Released: 15 October 2011