A trip to Cork and the digital future
Image: Suzanne Christiansen
We travelled to Cork, Ireland, for the Society of Dairy Technology‘s 80th Anniversary Conference, which was held at University College Cork on its campus. One way to feel old is to wander around a university for a day or three, but the level of energy and enthusiasm for the sector was hard to miss. As Ireland’s Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney noted in his address to the assembled, dairy in Ireland employs over 60,000 people and makes up nearly 40 per cent of the country’s food and drink exports. This includes the multi-nationally beloved Kerrygold butter brand, for starters.
Coveney further stated that Ireland as a country has a responsibility for getting its dairy digital future and the issues of accountability and sustainability right, as it has “a big obligation, as close to 90 per cent of our dairy consumers are outside Ireland.” That being said, he further said, “I’m pretty excited about the challenges and I’m confident the dairy industry will rise to them.”
Gary Andrews, the group skills development manager at Dale Farms in Northern Ireland, eyed Coveney somewhat wistfully and remarked a commonly held belief it was “refreshing to see such passion and interest on the part of politicians for our industry south of the border. It’s not something we see at home.”
The Society, for its part, continues to expand beyond its British borders, and the overall feeling at the meeting was one of ambition and expansion, both on the processing floor and in the future. Students submitted their presentations, and the speakers ranged from giving the audience a firm look at digital twinning and what it means, to how the process analytical technology works in dairy settings. I for one am excited and looking forward to continuing our work with the Society in 2024, which will involve the International Cheese & Dairy Expo.
- Suzanne Christiansen, editor, Dairy Industries International.
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