The economic contribution of dairy farming to the rural economy was highlighted at the Glanbia Co-op AGM in Kilkenny, which heard that in 2018 Glanbia Ireland paid approximately €1 billion, including VAT, for milk directly to 4,500 farmer suppliers across rural Ireland.
CEO of Glanbia Ireland, Jim Bergin, said that this delivered a direct boost to the economies of towns and villages in rural Ireland, with payments worth €168m to suppliers in Co. Kilkenny, €149m in Co. Waterford, €124m in Co. Tipperary and €122m in Co. Wexford.
“The 5.1 per cent growth in milk supply in 2018 was worth over €47m extra in payments last year which has an impact on the economies of rural Ireland and our suppliers’ farms,” he said.
Milk supplies to Glanbia Ireland are now at 2.7 billion litres per year, with supply reaching 88 million litres per week at peak this year, compared to around 45 million per week in 2014.
In line with the growth in milk volume, Glanbia has invested €343m in processing capacity, including investments in the Belview milk powder plant and in cheese processing in Wexford.
Glanbia chairman Martin Keane said 100 per cent of its milk now comes from dairy farms accredited to Bord Bia’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS).
A total €14.8m was paid out in a dividend to members (39c/share). This included an Ordinary Dividend of 13c, plus a Special Dividend of 26c as approved by members their 2017 special general meeting in Punchestown.
The AGM approved share interest (dividend) of 15 cent per share for 2019, which is 15 per cent higher than the previous year. At a special general meeting following the AGM, members approved the creation of a €30m support fund and the distribution of 13.5 cent per share (c. €5m) in share interest (special dividend) to be paid no later than December 30, 2020.
The meeting heard about the range of supports offered by Glanbia to its members in a challenging 2018, including a very successful extended credit scheme where €20m of interest-free cashflow support was drawn down by farmers. Over €14m was paid through the 2018 Trading Bonus Scheme, which returns a share of Glanbia Ireland’s profits to active farmers.