IFA: Stop cutting milk prices
The Irish Farmers' Association has called on the dairy industry to cease cutting the price of milk. Cuts have been forcing farmers in to a loss for more than a year.
19 August 2015 | 0
IFA Deputy President Tim O’Leary has said it is time the dairy industry put an immediate end to 16 months of continuous milk price cuts that have robbed farmers of their margins and put a majority of them in to loss-making situations. Co-ops need to focus on internal efficiencies, he said, including rationalisation and consolidation, as the IFA’s members could endure no more cuts.
“The current spate of milk price cuts started 16 months ago in May 2014,” O’Leary said at the Virginia Show. “At the time, co-ops were paying around 39c per litre. Practically every month since then, farmers have endured price cuts which have led to a drop of more than 33 per cent.”
Based on An Teagasc’s 2014 Farm Survey, a 33% cut in milk price amounts to a 92% cut in the producer’s margin. “This is unsustainable, and must stop,” said O’Leary.
Last week, the National Farmers’ Union in the UK struck a deal with some retailers, who guaranteed they would pay a minimum price for milk to farmers in order to help protect their livelihood. A similar deal has yet to be made in Ireland, but O’Leary said that his organisation is working hard with other farming organisations in Brussels to lobby the EU for increased intervention supports and funds to support the farming sector. “It would be most helpful to members,” he said, “if [the EU] put an immediate stop to any further milk price cuts now that volumes are dwindling.”