Applications open for the EU’s Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has announced that the application process for the EU’s Voluntary Milk  Reduction Scheme has opened.

Minister Creed announced details of how farmers can apply for the European Union’s voluntary milk supply management scheme today.

The Minister said that farmers willing to apply for the scheme must do so through their milk purchaser and they must clearly state the amount by which they propose to reduce their output

The scheme, which was recently agreed in Brussels, has an overall budget of €150m to cover all applications across the European Union (EU) and there are no individual allocations for Member States.

Key details of the scheme:

  • The voluntary scheme facilities farmers who wish to reduce their milk production between October and December of this year
  • Any reduction in output will be measured against their production in the same period in 2015.
  • Farmers will be paid 14c/L for every one litre reduction in milk production
  • Once the period is over, farmers will have 45 days to prove they have reduced their production

Minister Creed said the scheme represents the latest in a wide suite of measures adopted at EU level to address ongoing volatility in the dairy sector.

Farmers wishing to reduce production in a three month period starting in October will be able to do so and receive EU aid to the value of approximately 14c/L.

“It will be an individual decision for each farmer to weigh up the pros and cons of any route, taking issues such as market conditions, on farm efficiency and costs into account,” he said.

The Minister also encouraged farmers who have an interest in finding out more about the scheme to contact their milk purchaser who can supply them with explanatory material and application forms.

 How to apply for the Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme

Farmers interested in applying for the Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme can access the application form through the Department of Agriculture’s website and must apply to the scheme via their milk purchasers, who will also have the application forms.

According to the Department, farmer applicants must clearly state the amount by which they propose to reduce their output from October to the end of the year compared to the same period last year.

The closing date for farmers to return completed application forms to their milk purchases is Thursday, September 15.

The Department also announced that there are plans for further rolling three-month reduction periods after the initial November-December scheme, but only applications for the first period are being accepted now.

The roll-out of the scheme beyond this first period will be dependent on some of the €150m budget being available after it has ended.