Picture: Lakeland Dairies, the island’s largest cross border dairy co-operative, has launched a targeted campaign to encourage more women and other family members to become involved as shareholders in the co-op. Pictured at Virginia Show are (L/R) Susan Casey, Lakeland Dairies Teagasc Joint Programme; Niall Matthews, Chair and Sinéad Brady Lakeland Agri.
Lakeland Dairies, the island’s largest cross border dairy co-operative, has launched a targeted campaign to encourage more women and other family members to become involved as shareholders in the co-op.
Currently some 12% of herd owners in the country are women but this does not reflect the huge, often unseen, work carried out in farm businesses by women.
Across Europe, the co-operative movement in general has struggled to encourage women to become involved at representative and Board levels.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign at the Virginia Show in Co. Cavan today (Wednesday), Lakeland Dairies’ chairman Niall Matthews outlined the benefits of becoming involved in co-op shareholding.
“This is one of the most transformative times in the history of the co-operative movement. We are seeing considerable change coming to farming and with change comes opportunity. I’m a firm believer that having as many voices as possible from diverse backgrounds within our co-operative helps continually to foster progressive ideas and strategies.
“Becoming involved in your local co-op is hugely rewarding. It is your co-op, it is your business and, in many instances, it is your livelihood. I believe it’s important to have a say in the running of your co-op and this is done by becoming a shareholder and getting involved in the democratic processes that decide the overall direction of the business.
“Lakeland Dairies is a progressive, modern and sustainable co-operative, producing food to the highest standards, while supporting the wellbeing of our farm families and rural communities. We want to sustain that in every way possible for the future and having greater diversity throughout our shareholder base is a key part of that process.
“We’re seeing strong interest in this initiative at the Virginia Show and we are now rolling out this campaign across our membership base over the coming weeks and months. We have information for those who want to learn more about the process including how to have shares in joint names and how to have the milk account in joint names.”
Lakeland Dairies has a dedicated channel to support women who want to become shareholders in Lakeland Dairies. The co-operative has written to all shareholders encouraging joint shareholding among family members. Lakeland Dairies welcomes more female and family participation in the life and in the governance structures of Lakeland Dairies. co-operative is encouraging wives, spouses, partners, family member and young farmers to become joint shareholders as a way of further improving the overall vibrancy and success of their co-op.