Former chief executive officer (CEO) of the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) in Northern Ireland, Ian Stevenson, has formally taken over as the new CEO of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland (DCNI).

Building on the legacy of the organisation for the direct benefit of milk producers and processors is a core objective for Stevenson.

“The [Dairy] council was established in 1956. Since then, it has played a key role in promoting dairy produce from Northern Ireland both on home and export markets, communicating on the natural goodness, quality and nutrition of our milk and dairy foods,” Stevenson told Agriland.

"It’s very much a case of building on all of this for the future. Producers and processors of Northern Ireland milk have a very positive story to tell.

“At the heart of this, is an ongoing commitment to invest in production and manufacturing systems that guarantee the quality and reputation of the dairy produce for which Northern Ireland is renowned for,” he said.

Dairy Council

The Dairy Council’s new CEO said that he is very conscious of the fact that building on the sustainability credentials of the dairy sector will be crucial as the industry looks to the future.

“Despite the current pressure on farm margins, we are already seeing farmers investing in improved genetics, technologies and practices to enhance efficiency and animal husbandry," he said.

“There’s little doubt that the uptake of new technologies and programmes will increase at an exponential rate during the period ahead.

“But milk producers must be given full credit for the successful commitment they have made in lowering the environmental impact of their businesses up to this point.

“There is already clear evidence to confirm that the carbon intensity associated with producing 1L of milk in Northern Ireland has reduced considerably over recent decades. This journey will be accelerated further into the future,” he explained.

Approximately 50% of the total sales revenue of milk and milk products from Northern Ireland is generated from the UK.

The other half is generated from European and other international markets.

“Our industry continues to monitor closely implementation of the Windsor Framework and will work tirelessly to ensure that market access for dairy products produced in Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK and EU, remains unfettered,” Stevenson continued.

“The Dairy Council will continue to play a central role in helping to shape the future of the Northern Ireland dairy sector, ensuring that its importance and standing within the agri-food industry and the Northern Ireland economy are recognised and understood.”