The Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers Association was founded in 1983 to foster the growth of natural handmade cheese production in Ireland. It is a professional body empowered to act on behalf of the farmhouse cheese making industry. The Chairperson of the Association and its committee members, act as representatives of the industry with the various government departments and agencies as well as the press, television and radio.

The Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers Association has a commitment to encourage that products being sold by its members are of the highest quality and meet all the health standards and manufacturing regulation which apply both on a national and European level. Members of the Association are committed to maintaining their plants as models of cleanliness and sound production methods. They are opposed to the use of chemical additives or colourings other than natural annatto. They encourage that the milk used in their plants, whether originating from their own farms or purchased form a co-operator is produced, sorted and transported under the strictest norms of hygiene. Finally, members agree to submit their products to licenced laboratories for appropriate monitoring.

The membership of the Association is formed on a tiered basis (as per membership schedule). Associate members have the right to make proposals and motions in meetings but do not possess the right to vote and may not make nominations for the various offices of the Association.
Membership fees are as per agreed schedule on membership form. These membership fees may be increased as the need arises with the agreement of a simple majority of the membership.

The Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers Association meets officially once a year at an annual general meeting when all pending business is presented to the membership for discussion and consideration. Any member may make proposals for discussion. Any motion must be seconded by a full member. It then must be discussed and voted on by the membership. A motion may also be amended before a vote is taken. In order for a motion to pass, all that is required is a simple majority, except in the case of structural changes to the organisation itself or a challenge to the chairperson or committee in which case a two thirds majority is required.

A chairperson to carry on the day to day activities of the Association, to act as a public spokesperson when required, and to act as a liaison between the membership and the various government agencies and departments will be elected every two years. The chairperson shall preside over all Association meetings.

A treasurer to make all lodgements and withdrawals from the Association’s bank account when required and to keep accurate records of its monies shall be elected in the same manner.

A secretary to keep the minutes of all association meetings shall be elected in the same manner. The secretary may also be called upon by the chairperson to assist in handling the correspondence of the Association.

A committee to handle the various responsibilities and tasks which arise shall also be elected in the same manner. The number of committee members, aside from the secretary and treasurer, shall be set by the newly elected chairperson immediately after his or her election based on an estimate of the workload.

The Association may also meet at other times whenever the need arises. The chairperson has the right to call a special general meeting. Also a simple majority of committee members, including the secretary and treasurer, may call a general meeting, or one quarter of the full members may sign a letter requesting the same.

Amendments may be added to the constitution on the basis of a simple majority unless a structural change in the Association is proposed in which case a two thirds majority vote is required.

CAIS Committee, March 2015