‘Ireland has no plan on collapsed milk price and we should get one’

Ireland has no plan or policy around the collapsed milk price, according to the President of the country’s main dairy farmer organisation the ICMSA.

John Comer told the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine this week, at ICMSA National Council meeting, that farmers are angry and some are producing milk at 9c/L below the cost of production.

The Minister was also told at the meeting that his Department supported a status quo that was working for the wider dairy sector while inflicting income wipe-out on the dairy farmer foundation.

Minister Creed told the meeting that increased storage options for, particularly, Skim Milk Powder would have an effect and the possibility of a further direct aid package being made available. However, it was put to the Minister that dairy farmers are disillusioned with both the Government and Commission’s attitude and response to the milk price slump.

Some farmers are currently receiving a base price of up to 9c/L below what it costs to produce that volume

Comer urged the Minister to consider again the possibility of supporting an EU-wide voluntary production reduction scheme that would subsidise on a cents per litre basis a voluntary cut in individual farmer’s production on a 2015 to 2016 basis, with the clear proviso that those farmers who wish to expand can continue to do so.

Milk Price

“This proposal is on the table at EU level and with EU funding can play a key role in returning milk prices to a realistic level.”

Comer said that it was utterly pointless to pretend that there was not a supply/demand imbalance that had to necessitate some measures aimed at taking supply out of the chain until it fell into some equivalence with demand.

That has to happen, insisted Comer, and delaying confronting that reality was merely to delay the inevitable.

He said that support was growing right across the EU for such a scheme with various organisations urging the Commission to provide voluntary incentives for reduced production and end the ‘tinkering’ represented by adjustments in storage volumes.