Clongowes Wood College farm caught up in milk quota investigation

Issue arose when private school’s 400-acre dairy farm bought new stock

Clongowes Wood College in  Clane, Co Kildare: It is understood  the college told the investigation it had been unwittingly caught up in the issue and did not believe it had done anything wrong.  Photograph: Frank Miller

Clongowes Wood College in Clane, Co Kildare: It is understood the college told the investigation it had been unwittingly caught up in the issue and did not believe it had done anything wrong. Photograph: Frank Miller

Fri, Feb 14, 2014, 01:00


Clongowes Wood College has confirmed that its farm is involved in a Department of Agriculture investigation into possible infringements of milk quota regulations.

It has emerged that an investigation had begun into the movement of milk between two Glanbia suppliers but the suppliers’ identity was not revealed.

Under milk quota arrangements, farmers are not permitted to supply milk that has not been produced by their own cows on their holdings.

If they supply more than their quota, they can face substantial fines.

Clongowes Wood, a private boys’ school, runs a 400-acre dairy farm on its land in Clane, Co Kildare.

It is understood that the milk quota issue arose following an agreement by Clongowes to purchase replacement stock from another farm.

Subsequent health problems arose on the Clongowes farm which precluded it from taking the new stock on to the farm for a certain period of time. The issue centres around the supply of milk from those cows.


‘Unwittingly caught up’
It is understood that the college has told the investigation it had been unwittingly caught up in the issue and did not believe it had done anything wrong.

Clongowes sold its pedigree Holstein herd last year and restocked with 300 cross-bred animals as part of its move from an all-year round milking operation to a seasonal one.

Dairy farmers around the State are reviewing their operations because the EU’s milk quota system will be abolished next year and they will be free to produce as much milk as they like.

The college said it could not comment on the investigation but it issued a statement: “We are in the process of transitioning from an all-year- round milking operation to a seasonal one, resulting in the recent disposal of our existing milking herd and the acquisition of a new herd best suited to these new arrangements.

“An administrative issue has arisen with this transition which is being dealt with and Clongowes has been in consultation and is co-operating fully with all relevant parties ”.


Investigation
A spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture said it would not be appropriate to comment on any aspect of any investigation while it was under way. A Glanbia spokeswoman said Glanbia Ingredients Ireland implemented procedures for milk quota arrangements in line with department guidelines and was facilitating inquiries by the department.