Dairy farmers must be encouraged to put a proportion of their milk into fixed-price supply contracts, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

He was speaking at the recent ICMSA annual conference in Limerick and said the measure takes ‘a bit of the risk’ away from producers.

“But to make this work the co-ops need access to a realistic futures’ market. The Dairy Forum has been set up to make this a reality, he said.

“I am doing everything that I can to ensure that Irish dairy co-ops and processors get the best possible prices for their output. A case in point is the upcoming dairy trade mission to Nigeria,” the Minister said,

Minister Coveney also at the conference that Irish farmers are paying too much when it comes to borrowing money.

“This is why we are keen to look at implementing the financial models which the EU Commission is currently negotiating with the European Investment Bank. This will require changes to Ireland’s rural development plan. But, hopefully, this can be achieved during the second quarter of 2016.”

TAMS II – Dairy Farmers

The Minister confirmed that 1,000 dairy farmers have already submitted development plans under TAMS II.

“This reflects Irish milk producers’ commitment to invest in their futures,” he said.

“And this is a specific area in which the envisaged European Investment Fund measures can play a key role. For example, the balance of the TAMS II money, if borrowed, could be sourced through European Investment Bank funding models.

“In addition, loan repayments can be linked to real-time milk prices, which would help to alleviate the impact of volatility.”