Farmers split over introduction of milk supply control measures

Farmers are split about whether milk supply control measures should be introduced in Ireland, an Agriland poll has revealed.

Some 52% of respondents to the poll, which attracted over 1,500 respondents, said that milk supply control measures should not be introduced in Ireland.

The other 48% is said that milk supply control measures should be brought in.

poll

Earlier this year, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan announced a second package of exceptional measures to try and combat the crisis that currently grips the dairy and pigmeat sectors.

One measure of this package was the voluntary milk supply management measure, or Article 222 as it has become known, which allows farmers to to take up incentives to reduce milk production for a limited period of time.

This measure, introduced in the 2013 CAP reform, can be applied in case of severe imbalance in the market, which is the case at the moment in the dairy sector and has never been implemented before.

The ICMSA has called for such a scheme to be implemented in Ireland, however incoming ICOS CEO, TJ Flanagan, has said that such a scheme is “unworkable”.

ICMSA believes that with financial pressures growing at farm level and with no prospects of improved milk prices in the short term, unprecedented action is going to have to be taken at EU level to bring the market back into balance and to give farmers viable options.

However, the ICOS representative said that the European Regulation says that such a measure could only be implemented by co-ops (or Producer Organisations) as a voluntary measure, and wouldn’t be a National Scheme.

“In addition, both the Commission and the Irish Authorities had said they will not be funding such a scheme.”

Flanagan said that co-ops ‘have enough on their plates’ trying to sustainably develop their businesses and support their suppliers over this difficult period, without suggesting that they weaken their balance sheets further by funding an exercise, which he said ‘is doomed to fail’.