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Dear dairy farmers, dear interested parties,

I wish you all a Happy New Year 2019!

2009 – that’s ten years ago now – was a significant year for the European Milk Board (EMB) and for every dairy farmer in Europe.

There were huge demonstrations, milk supply strikes and especially major milk-spraying campaigns in many European countries ten years ago. Nobody has forgotten the dumping of millions of litres of milk in Belgium’s Ciney and in French Normandy at Mont St.-Michel.

At that time, we showed we could not put up with producing a high-quality foodstuff for milk prices below 25 cents. We warned the political decision-makers that a total deregulation of the milk market would have catastrophic consequences. Unfortunately, we were right. Our studies on the costs of milk production clearly demonstrate that the gap between the farm-gate milk price and production costs is widening drastically. And the countless numbers of farms closing down across Europe are evidence that the unconditional liberalisation was an utterly wrong decision. Let alone all the personal tragedies and family dramas created by the economic situation over all the years.

2019 has already started out as being very unsteady. Our costs are skyrocketing, not least because of the impact of the summer drought. In Belgium, the dairies have already announced a base price below 30 cents for January. We know from experience that the Belgian farm-gate prices are an indicator of price development in the other member states. As there are the European elections in May 2019, not much more can be expected from the European Parliament and the current EU Commission. Many EU member states also have unstable governments that dare not risk new approaches. What seems positive to me is that a pan-European popular movement is arising to revolt against the current system – a system serving only the profit of a few large corporations and becoming rich at the expense of the people.

We, the EMB, will not idly sit by and watch how the industrialisation of milk production is being pursued, how it is being made harder and harder for young people to carry on running family farms built up over generations.

We will continue to jointly promote the unity of European farmers. The political decision-makers should never forget the movement launched by milk producers in 2009 and developed in the subsequent years. We demand milk prices that cover our costs and secure a fair income for producers. The politicians must create the framework to prevent crises from happening. We call for the immediate implementation of our Market Responsibility Programme. Another year of crisis would be catastrophic, let alone another 2009!

We are starting 2019 full of motivation and drive!

Best regards,

Erwin Schöpges, President of the European Milk Board

Put an end to crises, crashes and catastrophes


The EMB’s proposals for reforming the EU agricultural policy and for solving the milk market crises

Ten years ago – in 2009 – the pictures of French and Belgian dairy farmers dumping several millions of litres of milk onto fields went around the world.


Gap between milk prices and production costs persists in Germany


The current calculation of production costs in Germany shows that only 85% of production costs were covered in October 2018. This is a slight improvement of 5% compared to the July figures; in January 2018, cost coverage was still 88%.


Cow and Climate

© Hans Geurts

Did you know that you are emitting greenhouse gases right now? Just like all 7 billion other people on this planet. And just like all the animals, birds, earthworms and other soil organisms. All living things emit greenhouse gases. The carbon (C) in our food is binds with the inhaled oxygen (O2) after it is burned in the body. Then we breathe this out again as carbon dioxide (CO2).


Cows are not killing the climate

© Thomas Schmidt

As the scale and impacts of climate change become increasingly alarming, meat and dairy production is a popular target for action. The public is urged to eat less meat to save the environment. A key claim underlying these arguments holds that globally, meat production generates more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector.


Irish Dairy Farmers looking to 2019 after expensive and challenging 2018


Dairy farmers in Ireland have mostly spring calving herds with only approximately 10% milking all year round. This is to maximise the growing season of grass and means that our cows are out at grass over 300 days per year.


Swiss chocolate industry feels the heat

© pixabay

The so-called 'Choco Law' in Switzerland came to an end on 31 December 2018. According to this law, Swiss food manufacturers could source local raw materials (sugar, milk powder etc.) at EU level at a subsidised rate, if the end product was destined for export.


EMB Milk Price Comparison: Milk producers had to accept price cuts

© wikimedia commons

From September to November 2018, only a few dairies raised farm-gate prices. On the other hand, most dairies lowered prices. Hence the basic milk prices reported in November 2018 were between 30.68 and 35.55 cents per kilogramme of milk.


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European Milk Board asbl
Rue de la Loi 155
B-1040 Bruxelles
Phone: +32 2808 1935
Fax: +32 2808 8265
E-Mail: office@europeanmilkboard.org
Website: http://www.europeanmilkboard.org