The shareholders of Lakeland Dairies have voted 98% in favor of adopting new rules within the co-op at a special general meeting (SGM) held in Co. Cavan today (Tuesday, September 12).
Lakeland said the outcome helps ensure the co-op meets the needs of its farm family members across the wide catchment area it serves.
It added that having greater diversity is a key part to sustaining high standards.
The shareholders voted on adopting the following changes to the co-op’s rulebook:
- Promotion of diverse membership and governance participation;
- Ensure meetings are held in a manner that encourages attendance and participation by diverse members;
- Introduction of postal, electronic and hybrid voting for elections of members of the board;
- Updating of language in the rules to reflect a modern society, for example, using chairperson instead of chairman.
Speaking after the SGM, Lakeland Dairies’ chairperson Niall Matthews welcomed the outcome of the vote.
“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,” Matthew said.
He said having as many voices as possible from diverse backgrounds helps to continually “foster progressive ideas”.
“We are a modern co-op with a large supplier base. Therefore, I am also pleased to see the option for in-person as well as hybrid voting for board elections being carried.
“We want to ensure that every eligible shareholder has a voice in an election for their board and this will help farmers have options on how to vote, which is a critical component of a democratic co-operative,” Matthews added.