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Billy Keane re-elected Dairy UK Chairman

Billy Keane has been re-elected to serve for a two year period of office as Chairman of Dairy UK.

In his Chairman’s Address to the Dairy UK AGM, Mr Keane said that it would be wrong to underestimate the enormous impact of the Voluntary Code on the industry and, although it was not without its challenges, these would be worked through and resolved. The Voluntary Code, he said, had been the catalyst for the introduction of greater transparency and formula pricing options, which meant that the choices available to dairy farmers were far greater than they were twelve months ago.

Mr Keane described the resumption of blockading activity as “hugely disappointing” and not a sustainable way to take the industry forward. That could only be achieved by real progress in efficiency, consolidation, innovation and collaboration. That collaboration is being delivered, with farmers working much closer than ever with their processors to develop supply chain relationships and jointly to extract the maximum value out the market.

Bovine TB is one of the most serious problems facing the dairy industry at present, said Mr Keane. Urgent and effective action needs to be taken to address this disease, which impacts on the health and welfare of wild and farmed animals alike. As such, he said, Dairy UK fully supports the Government’s decision to implement a science based approach to tackling Bovine TB.

The Chairman advised the meeting that addressing nutritional challenges to the integrity of dairy products remained at the top of the agenda for Dairy UK and there could be no doubt that public health would become an increasingly important part of Dairy UK’s work, given the regulatory and legislative landscape that lies ahead. In Dr Judith Bryans, who takes over from Jim Begg as Chief Executive of Dairy UK in a few weeks time, the organisation “has someone with the knowledge, skills and expertise to provide leadership for the industry in meeting these challenges.”

Before closing Mr Keane paid tribute to Jim Begg’s enormous contribution to the industry. He said that Mr Begg had provided “real leadership” and a stabilising force through many difficult periods of turbulence. “His experience will be greatly missed, particularly his extensive knowledge of the international dairy developments” concluded Mr Keane.


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