NI dairy farmers cast vote on merger
OVER 1,000 Northern Ireland dairy farmers will get the opportunity to vote today on whether a merger between their co-ops Lakeland and Lacpatrick should go ahead.
Dairy farmers who supply LacPatrick have been asked to attend a meeting in Cookstown to vote on the merger, while suppliers to Lakeland have been asked to vote in Cavan.
A union of the two all-ireland co-operatives, Lakeland Dairies in Cavan and Lacpatrick based in Monaghan, is expected to form an entity with the second-biggest milk pool on the island at 1.8 billion litres. The new entity will use the name of Lakeland Dairies.
Lakeland has 750 supplier farms in Northern Ireland, while Lacpatrick has 600.
The boards of the co-ops gave their unanimous approval to the plans earlier this month.
Lakeland chairman Alo Duffy has urged its members to vote for the merger.
“This merger proposal is a once in a lifetime opportunity for both co-operatives to continue their strong progress in a very meaningful way.
“By supporting the merger, shareholders will achieve a great good for co-operative dairy farming.
“The new society will continue to be farmer owned and farmer controlled while paying a sustainable and competitive milk price in line with market conditions into the future. That is our absolute priority throughout this development.”
The proposed merger is the latest shake-up in Lacpatrick. Three years ago Town of Monaghan Co-op took over Ballyrashane Creamery in Co Antrim, leading to a rebrand as Lacpatrick.