IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary today has said that his organisation is a very active member of the group of like-minded farm organisations currently lobbying both within and outside of COPA to persuade the EU Commission to ease the superlevy rules before March 31, 2015.

“IFA has lobbied hard our Minister for Agriculture, his Department officials, and institutions in Brussels for the last five years.  We have worked on changing minds and attitudes within the Commission, the EU Parliament, and among fellow-farm organisations. We will continue to leave no stone unturned in our quest for a ‘softer’ landing before 2015,” he said.

“However we cannot ignore the fact that there is more support for quota management in Europe than for a loosening of the regime before March 31, 2015. Only a maximum of 12 out of 28 Member States appear willing to support changes to the butterfat adjustment which could offer farmers some relief before March 31 next. A similar number insist on continued production management post 2015,” he said.

“Therefore, farmers planning to expand, must wisely factor in the cost of superlevy for both last year and this one. In collecting the outstanding fines, co-ops must make full use of the period to the end of September, to minimise the immediate negative impact on farmers’ cash flow,” he said.

“For the last year of the quota regime, we will continue lobbying for a ‘softer landing’ in Brussels and putting pressure on our Minister and Department of Agriculture officials to do likewise.  However, we will also look for realistic financial planning approaches with co-ops and banks to help farmers fund what may well unfortunately prove an inescapable additional cost of expansion,” he concluded.