New €5 million milk powder plant officially opened at North Cork Creameries, Kanturk, Co. Cork

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. has today opened a new €5 million milk powder processing plant at North Cork Co-operative Creameries in Kanturk, Co. Cork.

The new milk drying plant is one of the most modern and efficient facilities in Ireland producing very high quality milk powders together with other operations on a single site including casein, butter and liquid milk facilities.

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It positions North Cork to process increased volumes of milk from producers, other milk supplying co-operatives and industry peers where North Cork has strategic milk supply partnerships in place.

The development is in line with the continuing global growth in demand for dairy products and the impending abolition of milk quotas in 2015 which will free up dairy farmers and processors from current constraints on milk production. North Cork Co-operative now has the advanced manufacturing capacity it needs to meet expanding processing requirements and to supply growing global demand for food ingredients.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Simon Coveney said, “Through this innovative investment, North Cork has built an impressive facility making food ingredient products to the highest international quality standards. This development has contributed to overall enhanced competitiveness and capacity which will be important when milk quota restrictions are lifted next year. Irish food businesses need to operate at world class levels of performance to secure and grow their share of export markets. North Cork is ensuring that it will be able to compete effectively and that it will also be able to access new markets and new customers.

“I’m also very pleased to note that the co-operative is benefiting from Enterprise Ireland’s Lean Business Transformation Programme which forms a key element of Government policy designed to support business and economic growth. Its members are also participating in the Bord Bia Milk Quality Assurance Scheme. All of these developments will contribute to further export led success and the creation of a long term and sustainable future in milk production for North Cork dairy producers.
Pat Sheahan, CEO of North Cork Co-operative Creameries said, “This investment is important to the dairying community throughout our region and it is very important in addressing the needs of our customers on whom our business depends. It forms a key element of our business development strategy to improve capability, create new efficiencies and to identify new markets for our value added dairy products. It allows us to benefit from reduced processing costs while improving our long-term competitiveness and strengthening our market presence with world class products.”

“The plant is fully commissioned and ready to run for the peak milk production season and is already producing powders of an excellent quality and consistency. It will provide improved revenue streams and it gives us the flexibility to divert milk into the highest yielding product categories in line with market demands. Casein production operations have also been upgraded to the highest standards which will further enhance the quality of our offer. This improves our readiness and capability to meet growing milk supply and market demand in the future while paying the highest possible milk price to our producers that market conditions will allow.”

Martin O’Keeffe, Chairman of North Cork Co-operative Creameries said, “Our new milk powder plant is a vote of confidence in the future strength of dairying and milk processing at North Cork Co-operative Creameries. As a farmer owned co-operative, our mission is to ensure that as many dairy farmers as possible will benefit from our developments, supporting our rural communities and the economy of this region for the future. This plant will serve the expanded milk processing needs of our milk producers as we work together to grow our business. North Cork is a vibrant and successful co-operative with a heritage of excellence in dairying. It will continue to serve the interests of its co-operative members and milk producers long into the future.”

Enterprise Ireland Head of Food Michael Cantwell said, “This investment is good news for Cork and for the wider dairy sector because it provides further confirmation that the sector will deliver significant growth and will be ready and able to process the additional throughput of milk both efficiently and sustainably. It is a clear vote of confidence by the co-op in the future and Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with North Cork as they grow their business, particularly its value adding content.”

North Cork Co-operative Creameries processes milk into a range of food ingredients including milk powders, casein, butter and liquid milk. It has annual revenues of €65 million. The newly commissioned drying plant processes 2 tonnes per hour of spray dried milk powders.