UFU meets LacPatrick to reassure producers

William Irvine
William Irvine

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has met with representatives from LacPatrick following developments surrounding the future of the co-op.

LacPatrick collects 500 million litres of Northern Ireland milk every year, with processing plants in Artigarvan and Coleraine.

Ulster Farmers’ Union Dairy Chairman William Irvine said the meeting was convened following the announcement by the LacPatrick board that they are seeking a joint venture or merger with a number of possible suitors.

he added: “Our milk producers are feeling unsettled with the growing flow of rumour and hearsay and I am seeking reassurances for producers going forward.

“I have asked LacPatrick to ensure that the negotiations about the future of the co-op do not drag on, thereby creating any further uncertainty. LacPatrick have already been approached by a number of potential suitors and the negotiations are now entering the formal stages.”

Mr Irvine said the attractiveness of the co-op is clear to see. From a Brexit viewpoint, the substantial recent investment in processing capacity means that this southern-based co-op has a presence on either side of the border, and this could be a major plus point from would-be suitors.

He concluded: “LacPatrick have asked for time to reach a decision. However, the UFU has made it clear that only by the negotiations reaching a satisfactory outcome, namely by reaching a good deal with a potential suitor, will this settle the mood of our farmers.”