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Minister Smith opens 2008 World Holstein Friesian Conference

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today opened the 2008 World Holstein Friesian Conference and Show in Killarney. The event is being hosted by the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) and is being held in Ireland for the first time. The World Holstein Friesian Conference is held every four years and is attended by delegates and representatives from the 40 member countries of the World Holstein Friesian Federation.

Minister Smith described the conference and show as "a unique opportunity for Ireland to showcase its dairy industry to a global audience and I would like to congratulate the Irish Holstein Friesian Association on their efforts in bringing this prestigious event to Ireland"

Minister Smith said that the conference and show was timely and emphasised the continued importance and value of the Irish Dairy Industry to the Irish economy. The Minister said that its economic contribution is very substantial with "exports in excess of €2.3 billion in 2007, with dairy products and ingredients comprising one third of Ireland's total food and drink exports"

The Minister added that the world dairy sector was facing very exciting times with the medium term outlook for increasing demand for its products. Ireland, as well as some other countries, is well placed to grasp this opportunity on behalf of dairy farmers. Regarding developments at EU level, the Minister added that Ireland is preparing for the possible ending of the current quota regime by 2015. The Minister is negotiating a more expansive approach by the Commission on annual quota increases in the intervening period, combined with the continuation of market management measures during the transition period.

The Minister said that his Department has provided €100,000 in funding to the IHFA for the event. At the opening of the conference, the Minister highlighted the scientific proceedings being presented over the course of the conference at the INEC in Killarney. The scientific programme includes papers from a range of animal breeding and nutrition scientists and experts from across the globe. On Friday evening a sale of some of Ireland's elite Holstein animals will take place in the Green Glens arena followed by the World Conference Show on Saturday.

Minister Smith concluded by wishing all attending the conference an enjoyable and fruitful visit to Ireland.

Date Released: 09 October 2007