Irish farmers can apply for the Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme – Commissioner Hogan

The European Commissioner for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Phil Hogan has announced that Irish farmers can apply for the European Union’s Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme.

Speaking at today’s Virginia Show, Commissioner Hogan said that farmers accepted into the scheme will be paid at a rate of 14c/L for every one litre drop in milk production.

Commissioner Hogan said that the Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme is a method of reducing milk supplies in the European Union, particularly the larger producing states and it has a budget of €150m.

He also announced that the scheme will open to farmers in October, November and December of this year.

Irish farmers who reduce their milk production during the final three months of 2016 compared to the same time in 2015 will be paid 14c/L for every litre fall in milk production.

As an example, a farmer produced 30,000L of milk in October, November and December 2015 and, due to their membership of the scheme, reduces production over the same three months in 2016 to 20,000L. Under the new Scheme, that farmer would receive a payment of €1,400 based on reduced production of 10,000L at a rate of 14c/L.

However, he also said that the number of farmers who can apply for the scheme will be limited to ensure that there is adequate funds to pay farmers who have agreed to voluntary cut their production.

“Not everybody can put up their hand at the same time,” he said.

Dairy markets showing signs of recovery

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development also said that both the dairy and pigmeat sectors have gone through a very difficult time.

But, he said that the Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme will allow European producers to reduce and reorganise milk supply.

Dairy markets are starting to turn around, he said, as demand for dairy products has increased by 13% so far this year.

But, he said that farmers don’t want sentiment, they want to see higher prices.

“If we don’t balance suppy and demand farmers price will not go up,” he said.