Dairy Aid package to be paid this week (It’s more than first thought)

The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney has indicated that the flat rate payment under the direct aid package for the dairy sector will issue to farmers during this coming week.

The EU Dairy Aid payments will amount to €1395 per farm, and not the €1,350 figure, reported earlier this month.

ICMSA President John Comer said that he was made aware of this change in recent days.

“The Department of Agriculture has told me that as many of the payments as possible will be made before Christmas. But there will be another payment run before the new year, for those farmers not covered in the first tranche.”

The Minister also confirmed this week that the additional €800 top-up for those dairy farmers who are successful applicants under the Young Farmer Scheme will issue in early 2016.

Comer has welcomed the payment of the aid package.

“It will certainly help cash flows on dairy farms across Ireland,” he said.

“But the real challenge facing Irish milk producers will be that of getting through the first six months of 2016.

“Current predictions would indicate that farmers may well find themselves producing peak milk next year for prices that fall below the cost of production.”

Looking ahead, Comer said that the Brussels must take action now to prevent further crises from impacting on the dairy sector.

“The Commission is always playing catch up. This was the case in 2009 when an aid package was only agreed after thousands of family dairy farms had gone to the wall across Europe.

“And the same trend can be discerned in 2015. All the experts had rightly predicted that the European dairy industry was lurching into crisis as far back as 12 months ago.”

“But, again, Brussels waited until the industry had hit the rocks before taking any form of remedial action.

“The Commission should have used the €500m aid package eventually agreed to prevent the crisis from happening in the first place.”

Comer believes that Brussels must act to bring milk European milk output in line with consumption.

“Once the market is in balance, producers can be assured of getting a sustainable price for their milk,” he said.

“It will require Brussels to agree the implementation of a support scheme that will encourage dairy farmers to cut back on production levels, when it looks likely that markets are to become over supplied.

“It is feasible to put a support scheme of this kind in place. But we need a full and frank debate at EU level to make this happen.”