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The makers of Kerrygold have opened a huge €39 million butter factory in Cork

Ireland’s dairy herd is currently undergoing a rapid expansion following the end of EU milk quotas, but has been criticised due to the effect on Co2 emissions.

Image: Kerrygold

A HUGE €38 million butter factory opened today in Cork. The production facility, called Kerrygold Park, will have a capacity of up to 50,000 tonnes of butter a year, and will initially employ 65 people.

Two senior ministers attended the opening of the centre, in Mitchelstown, north Cork  - Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

Ornua, the company behind Kerrygold, is Ireland’s largest exporter of Irish dairy products, exporting to over 110 countries worldwide. Sales of Kerrygold top €750 million, a year it said, with targets to grow that figure to €1 billion.

In a lavish video accompanying the release today, Kerrygold a voiceover gushes: ”No better place to be a cow, they say, and no better place to make butter.”

Most dairy cows are slaughtered once they no longer produce milk.

“The lush, green grass of a land worked by generations,” the video continues.

Farming woven into the very fabric of who we are, and here our farmers share a commitment to producing something truly special – a taste made of Ireland itself.

Kerrygold Park will also house a key destination for international customer visits to Ireland. 

CMK14092016 Kerrygold Park0001 Ken Maguire, Kerrygold Park manager, speaking with Evan Purtill, production team supervisor. Source: Kerrygold

Co2 emissions

Minister Creed’s predecessor Simon Coveney announced an expansion to Ireland’s dairy herd, following the end of EU milk quotas.

The rapidly expanding numbers of cows in the country drew criticism due to the adverse impact on Ireland’s commitment to reduce Co2 emissions.

Kevin Lane, the chief executive of Ornua, said it was a special day for Ireland’s dairy industry.

The quality of Irish milk is exceptional. From the fields to the processors, the success of Kerrygold is based on the outstanding quality of the milk and cream that goes into it.

The increasing popularity of the western diet is creating hitherto unwitnessed problems such as heart disease and obesity in developing countries.

Yet it’s good news for Ireland’s dairy industry, according to Minister Michael Creed, who referred to a different set of targets – those of Ireland’s own food industry.

“Increasing global population, urbanisation and the westernisation of diet in developing countries offers Ireland’s dairy industry significant opportunity for expansion,” Creed said.

Ireland’s targets for the development of the sector under Food Wise 2025, and beyond, require that we identify valuable routes to market and mechanisms to add value to Irish dairy products.

“By opening new markets and developing new products, Ornua is playing a key role in delivering the demand for Irish product to meet increased supply resulting from the abolition of milk quotas.”

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CMK14092016 Kerrygold Park0009 Source: Claire Keogh

Factories in Africa

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor called the 65 new jobs being excellent news for the people of Mitchelstown and North Cork.

“This announcement is hugely significant for Ireland’s dairy sector. Kerrygold is already an iconic butter brand and this expansion is important to our continued growth in export trade.

Ornua’s strategy to develop Kerrygold as a global dairy brand will contribute to increasing trade and employment in rural communities throughout Ireland.

The opening was attended by international customers and representatives from the dairy and business communities.

Ornua bought 286,000mt of dairy products from Ireland’s dairy processors in 2015, up 16% on the previous year. They said they had recently built or expanded factories in Africa, China, Germany, Spain, the US and the UK.

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