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Dear dairy farmers and interested parties,

In Spring 2016, there were many challenges facing the Irish agri-food sector - particularly the dairy sector - but a threat to our single largest export market wasn’t one of them. One year later, that threat is a reality and much of our government’s planning and policymaking takes place in the shadow cast by ‘Brexit’.

British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 on March 29, starting official Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Ireland is the Member State most exposed to the UK decision to leave and within that alarming context, Irish farming and agri-food are the sectors most exposed. The United Kingdom is Ireland’s largest trading partner for food with 30% of dairy exports and 60% of cheese exports.

It is important to note that Ireland is not alone within the EU in terms of exports. Some of the key EU Member States export very significant amounts of food products to the UK. The 64 million inhabitants of the United Kingdom rely on food imports and our governments must ensure that we can continue to supply this market.

An article on Brexit and the Irish point of view with key issues for the agri-food sector as well as a number of demands to protect the Irish agriculture can be found in this newsletter. We have to build alliances at EU level as other Member States have similar interests and a combined approach for the future market with the UK should be taken. Brexit is a major challenge and it is hugely important that realism enters the negotiations at the earliest stage possible and very long-standing trading relationships are protected in the interests of both parties.

Finally, some good news concerning the EU support scheme to reduce milk production: nearly 44,000 farmers from across the EU have applied for support for agreeing to voluntarily reduce their production of milk by nearly 852 000t in the last quarter of 2016. The high participation of producers, especially from strong production countries shows that farmers are willing to reduce their deliveries.

The voluntary reduction scheme has had a direct impact on the milk market with current EU average prices of more than 33 cent. The EU programme has clearly worked out! Milk producers from all over Europe consider voluntary reduction as an important instrument for the future and call for its integration into a regular crisis mechanism.

John Comer, EMB Board member and President of Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA)

EU volume reduction: high participation in EU programme


The results of the EU volume reduction programme are out: Close to 44,000 farmers have participated in the EU reduction programme and have dropped their milk production between October and December 2016 by 851,700 tons.


BREXIT and Irish farming


Ireland is the most exposed Member State for the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and within that alarming context, Irish farming and agri-food are the sectors most exposed.

read more..

The German Federal Cartel Office expresses its opinion on supply conditions of raw milk


The German Federal Cartel Office has published an interim report that is significant for the dairy cooperatives system. It has caused quite a stir and confirms the MEG Milch Board's position almost entirely. In 2014, the MEG Milch Board appealed to the Cartel Office to launch an investigation against the DMK (Deutsches Milchkontor) and specifically criticised the exclusive supply obligation and long periods of notice in cooperative dairies in this context. The preliminary results concerning the key questions are now available.


Demonstration in Bern - Federal Council member Schneider-Ammann steamrollers a law through!

© Uniterre

Uniterre and BIG-M have organised a demonstration to protest the violation of the Federal Act on Agriculture, which states that all producers should have a standard contract for the sale of milk that includes "at least terms concerning quantities, prices and methods of payment." In reality, however, this stipulation has amounted to nothing.


Dairy industry outraged by report of the German Cartel Office

© AbL

The interim report on conditions for the supply of raw milk, published by the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) in mid-March, was highly anticipated, perhaps fearfully by dairies. This fear was justified: Using Germany's largest cooperative dairy Deutsches Milchkontor (DMK) as an example, the Cartel Office has thoroughly investigated the conditions on the raw milk market and concluded that there is a strong imbalance to the detriment of milk producers (suppliers).


Letter campaign by European dairy farmers


French farmer suicides unleash a wave of solidarity

(Brussels/Paris, 16 March 2017) Nowadays, "onerous letters" are landing on the desks of Europe's Agriculture Ministers and Agriculture Commissioner Hogan. Europe's dairy farmers have shown that they are heavily affected by the high suicide rate among their fellow colleagues and have expressed their solidarity with a French farmer who took his own life last December.


Hearty congratulations: Award for Corporate Social Responsibility goes to Burkinabe-Belgian Fair Milk project


Belgian milk producers together with Oxfam have supported their colleagues in Burkina Faso to put Fair Milk on the market. This month, they received the award for Corporate Social Responsibility in the Fairtrade category for the development project FaireFaso. 


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Website: http://www.europeanmilkboard.org