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  • News & Publications | Posts | Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society
    the introduction of tax relief similar to existing research and development R D tax credit guidelines with the specific aim of supporting best practice in environmental sustainability Under the R D guidelines a 25 tax credit is available for qualifying expenditure for companies engaged in in house R D This tax credit can be set against a company s corporation tax liability The principle of incentivising a key employee also contained in the R D guidelines should also be translated to the proposed measure dealing with environmental sustainability The purpose of such a measure is to encourage co ops and other appropriate businesses to invest in the knowledge needed to drive sustainability at farm level This proposal would fully support the wider objectives of Government to promote Irish food production as the most sustainable in the world As a follow up to the National Economic Dialogue ICOS are currently finalising a written submission to the Department of Finance on Budget 2016 This will be submitted in the coming weeks By Eamonn Farrell ICOS President Strongly Welcomes Lakeland Fane Valley Joint Ventures Announcement Posted on 6 Aug 2015 I strongly welcome the announcement of an agreement on the establishment of two joint ventures by Lakeland and Fane Valley co operatives said ICOS President Martin Keane Mr Keane said that this announcement represents a strategic leadership initiative by an ICOS affiliate co operative in collaboration with Fane Valley Co operative The effect of this decision would help both to consolidate and rationalise the processing and marketing of the milk pool on this island and combine cooperatives agri business operations all in the interest of their farmer members he said The ICOS President noted that this development was in line with the ICOS policy of seeking greater collaboration between milk processors whether through joint ventures or fuller scale amalgamations to ensure that scale efficiencies were being achieved in processing and marketing in the interests of farmers This announcement is one of a series of leadership initiatives taken over the last year by our co operative boards in the pursuit of amalgamations joint ventures and closer collaboration in the long term interests of farmer members and of consumers he concluded ICOS represents co operatives and organisations including the dairy processing co operatives and livestock marts whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of 14 billion euro with some 150 000 individual members employing 12 000 people and a further 24 000 people overseas Ends For further information contact Seamus O Donohoe CEO ICOS 353 87 2867349 seamus odonohoe icos ie Media Information Tim Kinsella MKC Communications 353 86 813 7512 tim mkc ie European Parliament adopts the Nicholson Report on the challenges facing the EU Dairy Sector Posted on 9 Jul 2015 The European Parliament on 07 July adopted a non binding report on the EU Dairy Sector drafted by Jim Nicholson MEP from Northern Ireland The report received significant support from MEPs with 510 in favour to 154 against The adoption of the report comes at a crucial time for the EU dairy sector with increased market uncertainty the continuation of the Russian trade embargo and the abolition of milk quotas following 30 years of restrictions Existing safety net measures such as public intervention and private storage aid are categorised by report as insufficient However Commissioner Hogan was quick to pour cold water on calls to increase intervention prices during the debate on the report with MEPs in the Strasbourg chamber Hogan said that an increase in intervention prices would be counter productive and that a change of mind set was required The Commissioner pointed out to MEPs that the goal is not to produce as much as we can but as much as we can find a market for As early as September 2014 ICOS first called on the European Commission to increase intervention prices in view of the collapsing world dairy markets Commissioner Hogan also resisted calls from MEPs to reinstate milk supply management as a cohort of MEPs maintained their traditional viewpoint on milk quotas ICOS are doing everything in our power to counteract this perspective so as to allow our client dairy co ops deliver their growth plans on their own terms The report acknowledges the crucial role played by co operatives in terms of providing producers with greater negotiating power Furthermore the report calls on the sector to consider the wide spread adoption of milk supply contracts and to consider risk management options such as locking in a milk price as a means to mitigate against market volatility In many respects Irish dairy co op s are ahead of the curve in the development of effective risk management tools and are showing the way in Europe ICOS will also continue to encourage the development of financial instruments needed to make dairy futures and other similar tools workable in practice The report highlights the crucial need for generational renewal modernisation and investment across the EU dairy sector Moreover the report stresses the need to add value to dairy products and calls on producers to take advantage of an increase in EU financial support aimed at promotion activities in domestic and third country markets The report also concludes that research and innovation measures need to focus on the development of innovative high value dairy products such as nutritional products Market Weakness Continues as Commission Stand Back Posted on 9 Jul 2015 Current dairy market weakness seems set to persist as the Russian import ban is extended global milk production grows and the GDT auction takes a hammering This week s EEX indices formerly published by Eurex value butter at 2948 with SMP trading at 1732 On the basis of these spot values milk could be calculated at having a spot value of around 23c including VAT The fact that Irish milk prices are currently hovering significantly above this level is due to product being forward sold at higher prices and our evolved product mix which has taken

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  • News & Publications | Posts | Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society
    Supply of Animal Remedies Boom Sprayer Pesticide Application SAFED Training For more details and dates on any training courses please visit www icosskillnet ie or contact us on 01 6131348 or on email breeda flood icos ie or billy goodburn icos ie All our programmes are offered free to Eligible job seekers Spaces on all programmes are limited and will have to be allocated on a first come first serve basis For specific details of training programmes please visit our website www icosskillnet ie If you wish to make a booking please contact either Billy Goodburn 087 1265542 or Breeda Flood on 01 6131348 Online Learning Platform ICOS Skillnet has launched a new online learning platform to further enhance learning opportunities for our member co operatives Programmes currently available on the platform include Understanding Health Safety in the Irish Workplace Understanding Customer Service in Ireland Negotiation Skills Effect Communications in the Workplace Time Management Team Leading Skills Conflict Resolution Interview Preparation Microsoft Office Excel Levels 1 3 beginner Intermediate advanced For a limited time and as part of our launch we are offering free places for up to 10 staff members from any of our co operatives members on any of our online courses 1 8 above To avail of this offer just contact Billy or Breeda on 01 6131348 or email billy goodburn icos ie Additional Special Offer Microsoft Excel package deal for only 35 per person The package deal includes either level 1 level 2 as a package or level 2 level 3 as a package Whatever you decide the cost remains only 35 per person This is excellent value for money Access to the online platform can be found on our website www icosskillnet ie LAST FEW PLACES REMAINING Diploma in Corporate Direction Food Business Start dates deferred until September 2015 ICOS Skillnet has partnered with University College Cork to bring the industry this diploma course which will now be commencing in September 2015 The Diploma in Corporate Direction Food Business is a Management Development Programme for co operative board members and senior management This innovative Programme is designed to address the special needs of co operative board members and senior management in a rapidly changing agri business environment The key aim of the programme is to improve the capabilities of directors and senior management in positively influencing the strategic direction and corporate governance of food companies in Ireland Participants will build on existing skills and develop new management capabilities in a highly interactive learning environment stimulated by academics and industry practitioners New dates will be finalised soon and will be sent out to all key stakeholders in the coming weeks There still a few places remaining so it is not too late to book To Book your place or places for some of your board members or if you just need more information please contact Breeda Flood or Billy Goodburn on 01 6131348 The ICOS Skillnet is funded by member companies and the Training Networks Programme an initiative of Skillnets funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education Skills 30m co op purchasing group ATC appoints new General Manager Posted on 15 Jun 2015 Associated Trading Co operatives ATC the agri trading purchasing and supply group of 18 dairy and other co operatives across Ireland has appointed John Heaphy as General Manager The Associated Trading Co operatives Group specialises in the buying of agricultural products and farm inputs some of which are sold to farmers under the Co op Source brand through its co operative members ATC s purpose is to harness the collective buying power of its member co operatives in a combined competitive and forward looking approach to their procurement requirements ATC currently makes purchases of some 30m per annum on behalf of its co operative members who achieve mutually beneficial cost savings from this process Mr Heaphy is a management accountant by profession and he is a specialist in procurement management As General Manager he will spearhead the re engineering and planned strategic growth of ATC operations This will include the formation of mutually beneficial partnerships with suppliers who are interested in working with ATC to provide quality value and choice for the co operative farming community Welcoming the appointment ATC Chairman Pat Moriarty said Associated Trading Co operatives is owned by its co operative members where our common goal is to provide quality products at competitive prices through economies of scale in purchasing This is particularly important in a climate of currently reduced world prices for agricultural produce and also in view of the expansion agenda for Irish food exports To maximise returns from their enterprises it is essential for farmers to manage the cost of their farm inputs and our co operative members are working together to support them in this task through Associated Trading and the Co op Source Brand The members of Associated Trading Co operatives are Arrabawn Co operative Ballyjamesduff Co operative Bandon Co operative Barryroe Co operative Boherbue Co operative Callan Co operative Centenary Thurles Co operative Drinagh Co operative Drombane Co operative Fealesbridge Headleys Bridge Inishowen Co operative Lakeland Dairies Co operative Lee Strand Co operative Lisavaird Co operative Mullinahone Co operative Newtownsandes Co operative North Cork Co operative Tipperary Co operative Markets Quiet as Prices Remain Flat Posted on 8 Jun 2015 Dairy markets continue to be very weak as Europe passes its peak and milk supplies remain strong Milk supplies internationally are expected to show growth on last year despite the poor start to the 2015 season Generally low product prices have prompted some demand growth which will help to some extent to absorb production growth however European milk prices are expected to come under significant downward pressure in order to reflect the current market returns Current butter and SMP quotes from the Eurex exchange of 3 020 and 1 783 respectively would appear to support milk prices of around 24c per litre including VAT almost exactly the same value as

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  • News & Publications | Posts | Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society
    is to improve the capabilities of directors and senior management in positively influencing the strategic direction and corporate governance of food companies in Ireland Participants will build on existing skills and develop new management capabilities in a highly interactive learning environment stimulated by academics and industry practitioners New dates will be finalised soon and will be sent out to all key stakeholders in the coming weeks There still a few places remaining so it is not too late to book To book your place or places for some of your board members or if you just need more information please contact Breeda Flood or Billy Goodburn on 01 6131348 The ICOS Skillnet is funded by member companies and the Training Networks Programme an initiative of Skillnets Ltd funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education Skills Footage from the AEMB Conference 2015 Posted on 27 May 2015 See the link below for footage from our AEMB Conference 2015 https vimeo com 128615816 Further co operative consolidation will ensure Irish dairy farmers have a strong presence in global markets and will support better milk price returns ICOS President Martin Keane Posted on 20 May 2015 Post quota dairy co ops are now developing and implementing strategies that will help them compete in a global market One leadership challenge for all co operative boards is to determine whether their strategic approach should be on a go it alone basis or involve greater integration with some of their fellow processing and marketing co operatives said Martin Keane President of the Irish Co operative Organisation Society Ltd ICOS at the Society s AGM in Portlaoise this morning ICOS has always been to the forefront in arguing for a strong and consolidated dairy sector with profitable farmer controlled co operatives delivering sustainable incomes to members Further co operative consolidation will ensure Irish dairy farmers have a strong presence in global markets and will help support better milk price returns The past decade has seen a very significant increase in the level of collaboration between dairy processing co operatives particularly in the areas of milk assembly and co processing ICOS is on record as supporting further co operative consolidation and rationalisation between existing dairy co operatives ICOS has a record of facilitating such decisions when made on the recommendation of individual co operative boards and subject to the collective approval of shareholders ICOS fully recognises that a milk supplier has the right to choose who he deliver his milk to subject to the rules and the terms of any milk supply agreement being honoured However it is in nobody s interests for a free for all competition for milk to develop History has shown that such a development can be destructive of co op balance sheets and destructive of the overall economic value of the industry Many dairy farmers are making their own business plans around expanding their businesses For some part of this planning will involve consideration of their relationship with their co operative While fully recognising and supporting supplier s rights to change those relationships ICOS would urge individual farmers to give very serious consideration to the integrity of the co operative and to the wellbeing of their fellow members An exclusive focus on short term milk price performance without regard for a co operative s longer term strategies will result in a growing loss of supplier ownership and control in the marketplace Decisions made by individual suppliers or small groups of individual suppliers are less appealing as they are more likely to lead to fragmentation and a process of attrition Such actions history shows tend to weaken co operative balance sheets and co operative solidarity to the detriment of all supplier shareholders he concluded ICOS the Irish Co operative Organisation Society represents co operatives and organisations in Ireland including the Irish dairy processing co operatives and livestock marts whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of 14 billion with some 150 000 individual members employing 12 000 people in Ireland and a further 24 000 people overseas Access to land one of the greatest obstacles to dairy expansion ICOS Posted on 19 May 2015 The low level of land mobility in Ireland is one of the main structural challenges facing the dairy sector and is a significant obstacle to dairy expansion in the years ahead Making it easier to access land is vital to allow dairy farmers increase their productivity levels said Jerry Long from Drombane Co operative Society and Chairman of the ICOS Dairy Committee Recently elected Chairman of the ICOS Dairy Committee Mr Long was speaking as he participated in the Teagasc Land Use Change Workshop and Farm Succession and Inheritance Conference in the RDS Tuesday 19May 2015 Jerry Long said ICOS strongly recommends a balanced and sensible approach to the expansion of the dairy sector On the one hand this must support farmers who want to consolidate at their existing levels and on the other hand it must support farmers who want to expand Access to land is a critical obstacle which can prevent these farmers increasing their productivity levels The volume of land for sale in Ireland is marginal with less than 0 5 of the total land area in the country switching hands each year Moreover the purchase of land is too costly for the vast majority of farm families The rental market is dominated by short term or conacre arrangements with 1M hectares of land rented in this manner on an annual basis Practical and effective agri taxation measures are crucial to support the expansion of the Irish dairy sector in the years ahead We need to build on the measures contained in Budget 2015 relating to long term leasing which has a number of practical benefits over the conacre system and needs to be promoted and endorsed by all stakeholders Family partnerships share farming and share milking are additional options which require careful examination due to their potential to promote

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  • News & Publications | Posts | Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society
    in Athlone Posted on 13 May 2015 ICOS hosted the annual conference of the AEMB European Association of Livestock Marts in Athlone A range of high level speakers addressed the event including Aidan Cotter of Board Bia John Horgan of Kepack and the event was closed by a key note speech by the European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan In a wide ranging speech to delegates from across Europe the Commissioner underlined the many benefits of the livestock trading network in terms of providing a transparent pricing system and a live trade outlet for farmers The speech went on to outline the importance of innovation in making Agriculture systems in Ireland and across Europe fit for purpose and able to compete and thrive in global markets Work on the rebalancing of the food chain to strengthen farmers and cooperative business was touched on as well as instruments that were being worked on in Europe that are designed to help meet the challenges of modern agriculture These include developments in investments from the European Investment Bank promotion policy developments in electronic tagging and work on bilateral trade deals to key export markets By Conor Mulvihill Expo Milan Ireland Puts Best Foot Forward on Feeding the Planet Theme Posted on 13 May 2015 The vast majority of our Dairy co operatives are now fully signed up to the Origin Green Programme that will be the theme of the high profile Irish exhibit of this global exhibition Ireland is one of 145 countries 13 Non Governmental Organisations 3 International Organisations and 5 Corporate Bodies taking part in the Milan Expo The event will run from the May 1st to October 31st and it is hoped that the Irish pavilion will play host to over two million visitors over this period ICOS and many member food producing co operatives are committed to increasing food production in a way that respects the environment and the Ireland Pavilion will show the world how we are promoting sustainability in our businesses and amongst our members ICOS is also playing a role in developing policy and information functions in tandem with COPA COGECA underlining the benefits of our co operatively based industry not just at the Irish pavilion but also ant the EU and other partner country installations For more info see this website http www origingreen ie expo milan 2015 By Conor Mulvihill Profiteering by large retailers at the expense of the primary producer must stop AEMB President Posted on 9 May 2015 The Annual General Meeting and 31 st annual conference of the European Association of Livestock Markets AEMB took place at the Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon hosted by Association President Michael Spellman Chairman of ICOS National Marts Committee It was addressed by European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan Bord Bia CEO Aidan Cotter John Horgan Managing Director of Kepak Group Michael Sheahan Senior Superintendent Veterinary Inspector Department of Agriculture Food and Marine Darren Carty Irish Farmers Journal and chaired by Justin McCarthy Editor of The Irish Farmers Journal Delegates attended from Bulgaria Spain France the Netherlands Belgium Scotland Wales England and Northern Ireland The event was organised by ICOS the Irish Co operative Organisation Society Addressing delegates Michael Spellman said AEMB defends and promotes the role of the livestock markets at international and EU level and the organisation is as relevant and needed in 2015 as it was in 1983 Back in 1983 we didn t have the same level of challenge to our business model Now we have numerous regulatory pressures to contend with By way of illustration animal welfare groups are constantly lobbying Europe to simply close down all livestock markets Their simplistic view of the world is that a livestock market is a place where all animals are mistreated daily This is simply a false view It is in all livestock markets interests that animals are treated properly and with respect Poor animal welfare is poor business and none of our markets want that The increased emphasis by livestock markets on training of drovers and on safer and more welfare oriented design of handling facilities is illustrative of the ongoing commitment of our livestock markets to improving animal welfare The EU animal traceability systems that now exist in 2015 are a far cry from what was in place in 1983 On balance our livestock markets have fully embraced the animal identification and movement systems This enables all involved in the food chain to verify where animals have come from and where they are destined for These systems have considerable costs associated with their introduction and maintenance Notwithstanding this livestock markets have introduced these measures to ensure the fair and transparent system that exists in the livestock markets is preserved Recent legislation on Producer Organisations has been enacted at EU level It is important that we ensure that there is no displacement effect on the part of Producer Groups in those countries that already have efficiently operating livestock markets Markets that are already providing collective bargaining power to farmers in their catchment for many years and we must ensure that our livestock marts can continue to provide this service to all our farmers across the EU Livestock markets are the price setters for the meat trade Their absence in the market place results in a lack of competition and a reduction in free trade This fact was never better illustrated than back in 2001 during the foot and mouth outbreak across the UK When markets were allowed to resume free trade the prices of beef and lamb increased by almost 20 in one week of trading Beef and lamb production without livestock markets is the ideal situation for retailers and meat processors to control prices and ensure maximum profits for their industries We must ensure that livestock markets thrive and all false and bogus claims around animal welfare and meat quality are challenged constantly Modern livestock markets have embraced change over the last 30 years and centres have constantly improved their buildings and equipment Nowadays

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  • News & Publications | Posts | Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society
    in place in Ireland that will ensure that co operative members who need it can avail of the scheme simply while ensuring that the co operatives themselves are not exposed to liabilities due to any member s non payment Nicholson Dairy Report goes to EP Agri Committee Posted on 13 Apr 2015 NI MEP James Nicholson presented his dairy European Parliament Committee on Agriculture on 24 th March While the report was broadly welcomed by most of the MEPs yet again there were some calls for supply management something that ICOS has completely rejected and defended against Key aspects that ICOS welcome in the report include the examination and support of market supports for the sector in times of crisis opening of new third country markets protection of dairy in vulnerable areas and also development of private tools at co op level to help farmer members mitigate the effects of volatility such as forward contracts and futures The Commission have stated their appreciation for the Nicholson report which they said they found very balanced As Mairead McGuiness is working on a report on the supply chain issue especially the relation with retailers MEP Nicholson did not include a paragraph on this issue in his report The dairy report vote in the European Parliaments Committee on Agriculture is scheduled for 5th May Dairy Trade Briefs Posted on 13 Apr 2015 EU US TTIP Another round of negotiations is to kick off in Washington next week with COPA COGECA involved in a stakeholder Dialogue on 20 th April The aim for this round of negations for Agriculture is movement on the Market Access chapter with Member states giving the Commission the power to come forward with a second offer that might entice the US to make a realistic return offer One innovation from the EU side is the floating of an idea called a safeguard clause that would allow both the EU and the US to act to protect aspects of their agriculture during periods of market disturbance With the US Pacific trade deal going slowly there is less hope that a TTIP will be completed in 2015 with Trade Commissioner Malmstrom admitting as much during a brief held in Dublin on the potential impact of a TTIP on Ireland Agreement on Geographical Indicators a labelling system that Ireland as little or nothing to gain from a dairy perspective remains a main stumbling block ICOS have meetings with the US dairy industry in early may as well as ongoing dialogue with the Commission on the matter to ensure a TTIP emerges that will help Irish Dairy Cooperatives Russia As we go into the 8 th month of the Russian Agri food ban we do not see much positive developments that a potential reopening of the market will happen before August at the very earliest Relations between Brussels and Moscow remain very icy And despite a stricken government in Athens making individual overtures to Putin to allow them bypass the food export ban little movement can be reported Vietnam In better news it looks like an FTA between the EU and Vietnam is imminent with a 12 th and possibly final round of negations to be signed off in the summer Vietnam is a country of almost 100 million people that is rapidly developing and ICOS have repeatedly pointed out the possibilities in the country for our dairy co operatives The Irish Public Accounts Committee also recently visited the country and passed the funding for Bord Bia to set up an office to promote Irish food and dairy in the key city of Saigon Vietnam has at present a 6 billion dollar and growing dairy industry that is only 20 supplied by the domestic Vietnamese dairy industry Co operatives such as Fonterra and Friesland Campenia already have a strong foothold in the region along with the Americans ICOS hopes that recent developments encourage Irish dairy co operatives to target this market End of Quotas Opportunities but Important to Put Irish Growth in Perspective Posted on 13 Apr 2015 While there has much celebration about the ending of quotas in the EU from an Irish viewpoint from a Brussels perspective it has to be noted that not all countries are ecstatic with our plans for growth There is a very discernible fear that our growth targets in Ireland will be a drag on the EU milk price For ICOS while it is clear that Ireland has a very good news story to tell about our plans for our co operative based dairy industry it is important that this is framed correctly in order not to alienate our partners across Europe For example the region of Brittany in France produces almost as much milk alone as we do and increased output almost 10 last year and France s overall increase in production last year by what we target to do in 10 years It has to be noted that even if we achieve our growth target over the next decade we will still struggle to hit 1 of global milk output Our output will be somewhere around the levels of noted dairy luminaries such as Uzbekistan and Ecuador Even from an EU perspective if we hit our targets we will not be much more than 4 of overall EU output far behind the Germans French and Poles Yet Ireland is increasingly put forward both in the market and politically as the bad guys who will put a wall of milk across Europe and depress the market This of course simply is not true We have for the first time since a policy decision enacted in 1984 an opportunity to grow a native industry that is farmer member controlled and will deliver wealth back into rural communities But it is important that we do not allow a hype machine to damage our potential for growth and sour our relations with partners who we have to work with to ensure our success Submission to the Seanad Public Consultation on Farm Safety Posted on 23 Mar 2015 ICOS the Irish Co operative organisation Society is the Umbrella body for Agricultural and Rural Co operatives in Ireland Its members operate in areas such as dairy processing and marketing to livestock marts to agri trading and farm services to group water schemes and they range in turnovers from as low as thousands to several billions ICOS has 130 members representing a combined membership of 150 000 farmers and rural dwellers Accordingly ICOS has been extremely concerned at the ongoing high level of farm accidents resulting in 30 deaths in 2014 and in countless debilitating injuries It is also concerning that the dairy sector in which co ops are most active should suffer disproportionately from farm accidents Of the 120 000 farms in the Republic of Ireland only 17 per cent are dairy farms Yet those farms account for 57 per cent of farm deaths This is probably due to the intensive nature of yard based operations on dairy farms featuring the three high risk areas of machinery livestock and slurry An analysis of the fatal accident statistics from 2014 indicates that the majority of the incidents seem to have been preventable and were perhaps a result of farmers operating under pressure in a rush and perhaps taking risks or shortcuts in order to get the job done No accident was pre ordained they were all preventable a moment s thought would have prevented all of the needless suffering Therefore all stakeholders have a responsibility to ensure that farmers can take that moment to think to take the appropriate steps to prevent such accidents ICOS and its member dairy co ops have been collaborating with FBD insurance to raise farmer awareness of safety issues and to communicate with them the dangers associated with their everyday operations We have already hosted FBD presentations at co op advisor meetings to raise awareness at that level and together we have developed the FBD ICOS and Co ops Champions for Change Campaign The campaign aims to leverage the co ops communications channels and influence with farmers to encourage them to think more seriously about farm safety and to make the changes to their own behaviour to allow them to manage risks Key components of the FBD ICOS and Co op s Champions for Change campaign The dairy co op campaign will focus on the Milk Suppliers and the Co op Retail Stores FBD ICOS Co op s at National Level Launch of Campaign in Late February to Mid March Media Ad Campaign Farm Safety Leaflet to be distributed true all mechanisms promoting the campaign Regional Safety Meeting Promotion of the National Farm Safety Weeks which will run from 13th to 24th April 2015 Ideally promotion of the campaign on the milk tankers by displaying the co op and Champions for Change logos A farm safety link should be placed on the ICOS and each co op s website which promotes the campaign and gives farms easy access to practical farm safety information Milk Suppliers After the launch a farm safety pack is to be sent to every milk supplier The pack will be branded with the FBD and ICOS logos and there will be a space on each pack to allow the local co op to place a sticker of their logo on the pack The packs will supplied by FBD and distributed by co op s The pack will contain key farm safety information for dairy farmers Safety Pack Farm Safety Champions for Change wrist bands Always Think Safety First booklet Building in Safety booklet Staying Fit for Farming booklet Survivor Stories DVD Safe Handling of Cattle on Farms Information Sheet A leaflet supplied by the HSA which will promote Farm Safety Risk Assessment Training Quarterly farm safety information leaflets newsletters to be issued by each Co op member seasonal issues to be addressed FBD will help write content for these quarterly information leaflets Leaflets to be co branded Dairy advisors should be encouraged to highlight hazardous observed and promote farm safety when visiting farms Retail Co ops A 6 x 4 ft safety sign will be place at the entrance to all retail shops This sign will give farmers a strong but simple farm safety message The sign will also carry the ICOS and Champions for Change logos This sign will be supplied by FBD Safety Posters Leaflets to promote farm safety placed within each store Promotion of the National Farm Safety Weeks which will run from 13th to 24th April 2015 As part of this promotion there will be special offers on safety equipment and PPE in each co op store Forestry Co operatives are the Way to Go Posted on 23 Mar 2015 Potential for renewable biomass energy projects outlined at ICOS seminar Swedish and Danish experts encourage co operative forestry initiatives Monday 23 rd March 2015 Co operatives and Producer Organisations can make a major contribution to and benefit strongly from Ireland s new multi million Forestry Development Programme to 2020 a seminar organised by ICOS heard Over 20 delegates including co operatives advisory services and academic interests listened to Swedish and Danish forestry experts on the major potential for additional income to family owned forestry and renewable energy projects involving biomass from forestry ICOS the Irish Co operative Organisation Society is currently helping producer groups to develop member owned businesses to exploit this opportunity Siobhán Mehigan Co operative Development Executive of ICOS said Because they are member owned and operated businesses co operative forestry producer organisations can maximise the economic environmental and social benefits that can be delivered by forestry at home as well as contributing to growth in this important export led processing sector Co operatives can address key strands of the 2020 Forestry Programme particularly in areas relating to knowledge and skills transfer and the establishment of producer groups which are very important elements of the development programme Typically producer groups can yield collective benefits through co operation including joint planting thinning and felling operations and equipment and machinery sharing This can also extend into biomass processing operations Karsten Raae Senior Consultant Forest Supervisor of Danish Forestry Extension DFE told the meeting that there is great potential for the development of a sustainable profitable producer owned forestry sector in Ireland However Ireland has a ready made wood fuel resource in the large areas of farm forests planted over the past 3 decades they now require consistent thinning to achieve production potential and this should be arranged through co operative producer organisations Knowledge also needs to be built up around the harvesting and storing of wood for energy There is increasing demand for wood based fuels including pellets and dry wood chips following from SEAI s campaign encouraging businesses and consumers to install wood fuel boilers Additionally Ireland s peat fired power stations are currently changing to 30 biomass due for completion in 2015 DFE is the international consulting and forestry promotion division of the Danish Forest Owners Association a grouping of co operatives with over 5 000 members managing some 20 of all Danish private owned forests with a combined annual turnover of over 85m It is currently working with the Irish Council for Forest Research and Development COFORD to develop harvesting systems for wood for energy in Irish private forests This includes appropriate scale harvesting operations and on site demonstrations as well as scientific reporting and promotion Lennart Ackzell International Co ordinator at the Swedish Federation of Family Forest Owners said that 50 of the 27 million hectares of forest in Sweden is family owned with the remainder controlled by State commercial and other interests The national association is comprised of 4 regional associations with some 330 000 individual forest owners This co operative based industry controls its own harvesting and processing facilities involving local communities and families in the economic benefits to be achieved around forestry In particular the Swedish model promotes overall sustainability and a long term livelihood from forestry through producer controlled co operative based enterprises If Sweden can achieve this then Ireland can and should do likewise and the co operative model is the appropriate approach to this requirement said Ackzell Irish Forestry Potential Highlighted Forests play an increasingly important economic environmental and social role in Ireland The forestry industry makes a significant contribution to the Irish economy employing 12 000 people directly However Ireland remains the least forested country in the European Union with just 11 of Ireland s total geographical area forested compared to a 35 average throughout the other EU Member States The Department of Agriculture has allocated some 482m of State investment to its 2020 Programme to provide a range of incentives and supports for forestry development over the next 6 years This includes plans for 44 000 hectares of new forests 700km of new forest roads and higher premium payments The new premiums are 20 higher than those in the previous forestry development programme and establishment grants have also increased by 5 Western Forestry Established forestry co operatives including Western Forestry Co operative contributed to the seminar on the development of sustainable profitable forestry businesses that are member owned Based in the west of Ireland Western Forestry is owned by the dairy co operatives It was established 30 years ago in response to a need for support services for landowners considering forestry along with other forestry producer organisations in Cork Limerick and Donegal Vulcan Project A case study was also provided around The Vulcan Project an initiative between South East LEADER groups and the multinational food company Danone The project is facilitating the development of forestry producer groups in the southeast of Ireland It is also driving a new income source into many family forestry owned homes and businesses Danone s Baby Nutrition plant in Wexford has a new biomass boiler which requires 8 000 ODT Oven Dry Tonnes of biomass per year The Vulcan Project supports the local supply of biomass from forestry for energy production by Danone and also promotes the product among consumers outside of Danone Operating across Counties Kilkenny Laois Tipperary Wexford and Wicklow it addresses the problem faced by small forestry owners around how to earn an income from their timber plantations in the period between the planting grant running out and the trees being ready to harvest It enables them to sell the thinnings and prunings of the maturing forest to produce wood fuel products such as chips pellets and blocks By purchasing fuel from producer groups Danone Wexford can source its fuel locally and more economically As a result of reduced delivery costs Danone is able to secure contracts with these farmers at mutually beneficial rates The producer groups will be self financing within 3 years In a region where over 1 000 disadvantaged farmers receive state aid the sale of biomass can provide an additional revenue for farmers and the Vulcan Project will support at least 400 farmer families increasing their revenue with specific emphasis on those associated with Farm Assist the supplementary income scheme for farms In the South East of Ireland nearly 13 000 farmers currently have forestry able to produce 34 000 ODT year State renewable energy targets indicate a requirement for 236 000 ODT of biomass in the southeast by 2020 so there is considerable potential for economic growth for the region through co operation between those forestry owners Ends Major drive by ICOS and FBD to bring home farm safety message Posted on 18 Mar 2015 Dairy Co ops announce partnership with FBD Champions for Change programme Board of ICOS gathers to launch nationwide initiative as dairy industry gears for growth In a major show of industry solidarity designed to up the game for everyone around farm safety the Irish Co operative Organisation Society including all Irish dairy co operatives will partner nationally with the FBD Champions for Change programme The all encompassing co operative sector initiative was launched in Portlaoise by the entire

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    the benefit accruing from avoiding interest payments on a super levy bill might not approach the 15k limit even in exceptional cases the actual figure needs to be combined with the value of other state aids such as under various Pillar 2 programmes A contract would also need to be drawn up to be signed by farmers applying to benefit from the Scheme to ensure that the Member State is guaranteed payment of tranches 2 and 3 of the super levy bill All the above work needs to be done and the Scheme provided for in law before co ops could consider amending their current approach to super levy collection Hogan Again Underlines the Importance of Agri Co ops in his Plans as Commissioner Posted on 11 Mar 2015 ICOS was invited to participate in the recent Spanish national agri co operative conference in Valencia in Spain where Commissioner Hogan was the keynote speaker Yet again the Commissioner underlined the importance of agri co operatives in his plans for the next five years and said for him the 3 key advantages of farmers operating through cooperatives were in terms of marketing finding new markets and negotiating prices Hogan stated that Promoting producer co operation in all agricultural sectors with the objective of improving competitiveness and strengthening the position of producers within the supply chain was a key objective of the CAP reform He underlined the extension of legislation for the Producer Organisation POs within European law ICOS very much welcomes the Commissioners strong commitment to supporting the co operative model We are working hard on the use of PO legislation to support the re emergence of strong co operatives across Irish Agriculture especially in areas of the agri economy where farmers are currently not working together and are price takers We do though have to ensure that PO legislation is not used to undermine sectors were the co operative movement is strong and we will continue to work with the European institutions to ensure same ICOS also welcomes that a specific Common Market Organisation CMO Task Force has been set up by the Commission to prepare implementing and delegated acts covering public intervention private storage aid marketing standards and trade mechanisms such as tariff rate quotas licenses and export refunds for dairy products It is expected that new acts covering these key instruments for our dairy cooperative members would be implemented by the end of the year 2015 European Dairy Superlevy Bill Projected to be a Record Amount Posted on 11 Mar 2015 In recent meetings with farming and Agri co operative organisations across Europe it is clear that despite the recent milk price difficulties and looming superlevy restrictions that 2015 will result in a record fine for European dairy producers ICOS figures project an estimated bill in the region of 750 million being incurred by up to 13 countries from across the Union The biggest bills are estimated in Germany 300 million Poland 160 million Netherlands 140 million Ireland 75 million Denmark 29 million Other countries such as Austria Luxemburg Estonia Italy Belgium Spain and Cyprus will also have significant bills to contend with This is projected to be well in advance of the 409 million stumped up by dairy producers from across 8 countries including Ireland last year and overall European quota being underutilised by the tune of 4 6 ICOS has long contended that these fines are crazy at a time when competitor dairy producing blocks have no such restrictions on their production output and the fact that the fines are subsumed into the general EU budget and are not ring fenced for the dairy industry simply add insult to injury While current proposals to spread the final fine over 3 years for by Commissioner Hogan are most welcome we still very much regret that the practical butterfat technical solution robustly put forward by ICOS was not taken up Italy Faces ECJ Over Long Term Superlevy Fines Posted on 11 Mar 2015 In a case that has been in the offing for a number of years the European Commission recently formally referred Italy to the European Court of Justice ECJ over its failure to recover superlevy fines from farmers form 1995 2009 Under European regulations the levy should be paid by producers who exceeded their individual quota threshold linked to their volume of overproduction An over fine of over 2 3 billion has been paid by the Italian government and the ECJ case file claim that over 1 75 billion of that figure was never recovered from Italian dairy producers The case file also cites the attempts by the Commission to get Rome to recover the superlevy bills outstanding from farmers and how these have failed The Commission view is that the money is regarded as a clear state aid for Italian dairy producers and gave Italian dairy producers an unfair commercial advantage over fellow European Dairy farmers NI MEP Jim Nicholson Calls for Stronger Dairy Safety Nets in EP Report Posted on 11 Mar 2015 The Armagh MEP with a strong dairy background has released his 11 page draft own initiative report on the Prospects for the EU dairy sector review of the implementation of the dairy package The document seeks to assess the support measures of the dairy package and recommends solutions to address market volatility Nicholson has called on the Commission to implement more responsive and realistic safety net measures and review the rate of intervention to be more reflective of production costs and adapted as the market changes In line with developments advocated by ICOS and seen in many Irish co operatives Nicholson would like to see the sector explore longer term integrated supply chain contracts fixed margin contracts and the opportunity to lock in a milk price for a set period of time Nicholson highlights the future opportunities for the European Dairy Sector with the positive prospects on the domestic and global markets The report will be presented at the next COMAGRI

    Original URL path: http://www.icos.ie/news-publications/page/13/ (2016-02-10)
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    super market in Cambodia so we are making a dent In terms of price even though incomes are a fraction of Irish norms consumer prices are very attractive epically within the functional food brackets such as infant formula food for older people etc It was also interesting to see in smaller shops that these types of foot were kept behind the counter in the same may razors and batteries are at home The lack of a discernible appetite for consumer cheese and butter is very clear along with the popping up of specialist dairy stores in cities that look like pharmacies and stock nothing but dairy products from single companies Superlevy Spreadout EU must help a Common Sense Approach Posted on 9 Feb 2015 As detailed in many previous editions of this publication ICOS has spearheaded practical lobbying in Brussels for the mitigation of the Superlevy bill Despite the promises of a softlanding to the end of dairy quotas and the continued technical possibility of a Butterfat adjustment the political will of many countries and the Commission could not be found with a qualified minority of countries backed in the main by the UK and France at Council blocking our interventions In the middle of last year as dairy markets began to weaken Dairygold Co operative acting on behalf of their farmer members issued a policy that they would help pay the superlevy in 2015 and allow penalised members pay them back in instalments to help against a perfect storm of falling prices Russian ban world oversupply a big tax bill on 2014 profits and capital investment around quota abolition Dairygold were the first in Europe to come up with this scheme and other co operatives in Ireland have looked at the proposals closely From an ICOS perspective while the Dairygold action was welcomed and yet another clear example of the co operative ethos at work we felt that such a solution could be given a proper EU dimension This is especially true considering that A major element causing the dairy difficulty was a geopolitically caused Russian ban on dairy sparked by EU sanctions which had nothing to do with producers That superlevy money to be collected far exceeds what the EU has budgeted for under their 2015 accounts and by EU law will go into the general EU budget anyway and will not be retained for agriculture much less for support for a beleaguered dairy sector It is abundantly clear that many ICOS member co ops are supporting milk price above world market prices and the imposition of them using their balance sheet to pay a superlevy bill on behalf of farmer members in 2015 will put yet another burden on their balance sheets which ironically will affect their ability to raise milk prices as markets inevitably recover ICOS is fully cognisant that the EU has to adhere to quota and state aid law requirements and that the Commission has been working for solutions in the area in particular Phil Hogan and his staff personally But we feel that there has to be a mechanism perhaps even through the drafting delegated acts where the Commission while collecting the full value of superlevy and not affecting EU budget appropriations can help spread the burden of superlevy payments over a longer period helping the cash flow problems of farmers suffering from geopolitical problems not of their making Making co ops carry the financial strain of spreading the bill only weakens these farmer owned businesses And using national governments to pay the bill is an obvious state aid contravention ICOS would see this as a fair and common sense approach ICOS to take part in Dairy Cow Welfare Consultation in Brussels Posted on 9 Feb 2015 With the abolition of dairy quotas on the immediate horizon markets and trade have not been the only topics of discussion on the industry in Brussels Parliamentarians and animal welfare organisations have been also highlighting possible welfare effects on the physical herds also While in Ireland high animal welfare levels are synonymous with quality and profitability a lot of negative coverage in Europe is given to cows on zero grazing systems A commitment to examine the issue politically has been given within the institutions in 2015 and the EU s food safety authority EFSA has set a deadline of February 13th for feedback on a review of data regarding small dairy farms in the EU and ICOS is taking part in this The data review includes the number of dairy cows in the EU farm size variation across countries as well as ways to categorise small farms We in ICOS feel that it presents an opportunity to underline the benefits of a co operative based family farm centred grass based grazing systems to enhance our reputation in the area Further information on the consultation is available here http www efsa europa eu en consultations call 141210 pdf Russian Agri Blockade Update Optimism Recedes Posted on 9 Feb 2015 Despite some optimistic reports to the contrary ICOS sees little prospect for a resolution of the Russian Embargo which now enters into its 6th month Some of the optimism was based on reports that the Russian authorities planned to partially lift its trade restrictions on certain European agricultural goods such as pig meat products meal fat lard potatoes and possibly some GI cheeses Inspections were planned by the Russian food safety authority in some European countries not Ireland but these have now fully stalled Allied to this the continued devaluation of the Russian rouble as well as the continued escalation of the military conflict in the Ukraine has further undermined hope that a resolution lies anywhere on the horizon In fact EU Foreign Ministers agreed this week to extend existing sanctions against the Kremlin until September add further names to the blacklist of individuals targeted for EU travel bans asset freezes While ICOS very much welcomes efforts by Minister Coveney to make recent bilateral efforts with Moscow as

    Original URL path: http://www.icos.ie/news-publications/page/14/ (2016-02-10)
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    sharp focus the fact that farmers need to remain focused on more than the milk price First Milk s announcement means that farmers will be asked to carry an additional two weeks of the Co op s cash flow burden as well as having to increase their capital investment in the co op by 2p per litre In Irish terms that would mean a typical Irish farmer with say 320 000 litres having to fund additional 4 300 cash flow from the delayed payment plus an additional 8200 in shares That s a direct cash hit of 12 500 to a typical supplier on top of a potential milk price hit of about 30 000 if various market projections materialise First Milk say that their problems arose from a loss making position caused by weak markets in early 2014 coupled with an inability to drop milk prices in time apparently they didn t want to be the first to cut the milk price The significant drop in market sentiment caused by global supply demand imbalance exacerbated by the Russian ban resulted in loss in stock values and the fact that loans were secured against those stocks reduced the co ops ability to borrow The Co op reiterates that the problems are purely of a cash flow nature and they will not have this problem again They guarantee that all members milk will be picked up and paid for If there is a lesson for Ireland it is that farmers need to consider more than just the milk price when judging their Co op The strength of the balance sheet and the security of knowing that issues like First Milk s won t arise ought to be considered as well Maybe financial criteria related to the strength of the co op ought to be integrated into milk leagues EU Trade Update for Spring 2015 NZ Australia looking for a Deal Posted on 13 Jan 2015 It is clear that this is becoming the new buzz word in Agriculture with the next round of the EU US negotiations on the TTIP penciled in for their 8 th run in February Many in Brussels are becoming increasingly negative of progress as the US seems to be more interested now in concluding the Trans Pacific Partnership TPP in the East It should also not be forgotten especially for an Irish Agriculture point of view that the EU has 13 other Trade agreements in motion around the globe which are at various levels of completion Recent soundings of the launch of a potential new Australia New Zealand trade deal will be followed with interest with their embassies and lobby groups in Brussels becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress of any type Rumours of a joint Australian NZ are around Brussels at present and ICOS will follow these very closely from an agri perspective China from a trade point of view remains on the back burner Limited progress is being made around rules for European companies wishing to set up or engage in joint ventures in China The newly installed Trade Commissioner Malmstrom has promised to review progress in the area in 2015 Agri Preview on Brussels Agenda for 2015 Latvian Presidency Posted on 13 Jan 2015 As January looms the new Latvian Presidency of the council is preparing to kick into action With the new European Parliament and Commission firmly in office the first quarter of 2015 promises to be very busy from an EU Agri legislation front Apart from dairy issues dealt with extensively elsewhere in this newsletter the following will look at the other key Agri issues that will be dealt with New CAP The new era has kicked into gear since January 1 st all eyes will be on how national governments use their discretion to implement the new programmes There are fears that the new Common Agriculture Policy may not be so common and also the effects of the new greening regime Rural Development Plans Acceptance of Irish other Rural Development plans to 2020 are still ongoing despite the new CAP supposedly coming into being in January Several countries have been approved but Ireland still has no green light because of a number of questions put the Department by the Commission regarding the draft plans they submitted to them There is some speculation that it could be as far as April before the Irish Rural development plan is passed Other Files in the Latvian Presidency Work Programme The Commission seems to be engaging in a policy shift in supporting the pork market and now seems to be considering a targeted level of support through a private storage aid scheme in early 2015 A new Emissions Trading Scheme for Green House Gas emissions for Food processing plants is gathering momentum that will feed into a big climate change conference to be held in Paris later in the year There will also be new laws down for discussion of interest to the Irish Agri Business sector around organics the school milk scheme vet medications forestry seed law and retail food chain issues Report Coming on Compulsory Country of Origin Dairy Labelling Proposals Posted on 13 Jan 2015 Another Milk dossier which will garner attention this year are proposals to possibly implement compulsory origin labeling on milk and milk products This is an area fraught with danger especially for an exporting country like Ireland with some co ops having a cross border supply and for our industry in general as some countries with to renationalise milk Something we think is unacceptable both from a single market perspective and a practical perspective ICOS has been following this dossier from the start and has made extensive contributions to the Commission at legislative workshop level to ensure that our industry is not saddled with unworkable regulatory burdens An initial consultant s report containing recommendations on the matter is expected within the next month We are confident that our practical submissions regarding the total unworkability of

    Original URL path: http://www.icos.ie/news-publications/page/15/ (2016-02-10)
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