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MILK-NEWS

http://www.europeanmilkboard.org

Dear Dairy Farmers and Interested Parties,

In just a few weeks the time will finally have come. The limit on milk volumes that started back in 1984 is being abolished. When the quota system was introduced over 30 years ago it had two aims:

Firstly the market organisation was to be affordable again. For that it was essential to get rid of the EU milk lakes and butter mountains. This aim was achieved in a short time. Within a few years the market organisation costs for the dairy sector were cut from 7.5 billion euros to under 2 billion euros.

Secondly producer prices were to be stabilised, thus avoiding structural breaks. This aim was likewise achieved, even if milk prices could have been better arranged for the farmers by being more consistently applied. It is just that this was not what the politicians wanted, after all it was deemed important to exploit “export opportunities” in the past, too. All in all the milk quota system was a cost-effective and efficient instrument for the state to stabilise the market. For dairy farmers the quota meant more or less dependable general conditions. To those organisations that moaned the quota system didn’t work, one thing has to be said: it worked exactly as those applying it had intended.

However, the quota system cannot be blamed for the severe market crises of 2009 and 2012, they were due solely to the deregulation of the milk market with the dire soft landing. A flexible supply management system could have easily stabilised the market and thus prevented those crises with the losses of billions for the dairy farmers.

And now? Since November 2014 the impending, record-high super levy of about 20 cents a kilo of oversupply has resulted in a clear reduction in the supply of milk. As painful as the super levy may be for those farms that milked in the first half of the dairy year as if milk was going out of fashion, it has been effective in halting the slump in prices. The prices quoted for the primary products butter and SMP are rising, and the market has temporarily stabilised.

But what is to come after 1 April? The most likely scenario is that dairy farmers will boost their production in many EU countries, regardless of the situation in the milk market. Another drastic price collapse seems inevitable, along with the next market crisis.

To counter this ever-recurring market failure, the EMB is calling on European policy-makers to implement a Market Responsibility Programme. The current situation/developments in the last three to four months make it patently obvious that with clear guidelines and political will it is perfectly possible to systematically counter market distortions. Even in a period without quotas, such a programme can also create an incentive for dairy farmers to act in line with the market. Anyone producing more despite market saturation should also assume responsibility for this and pay a market responsibility levy. On the other hand, anyone producing less in such a situation should be paid a bonus. This can create a stable environment and ensure milk production throughout the EU.

Romuald Schaber, EMB Präsident

Call for participation: Vigil, press conference & symbolic action on 31 March in Brussels

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The 31 March 2015 will see the end of 31 years of quotas. But what is to come after 1st April? The most likely scenario is that dairy farmers will boost their production in many EU countries, regardless of the situation of the milk market. Another drastic price collapse seems inevitable, along with the next market crisis.

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Presentation of the results of the study on milk production costs in Belgium

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Please find here the current press release of MIG and EMB (04.03.2015)

Today in Brussels, the MIG and the EMB presented to the cabinet of the Federal Minister responsible for agriculture the dairy farmers’ situation and the results of the independent study on the costs of milk production in Belgium.

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French dairies: compulsory contracts – situations and risks

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The 31 March 2015 will see the end of 30 years of the quotas. Thereafter production will be determined by the contract system established by the state and under the European Milk Package. The co-operatives are not concerned because their members are bound by their constitutions to supply all the milk they produce.

 

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Italy: Round Table on Milk

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On 11 February, the Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Maurizio Martina, convened a “Milk” round table in Rome with regional Ministers of Agriculture, delegations of the main producer organizations and the industry in order to develop solutions to support the milk sector and improve the situation.

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“We are fed up!” platform demands radical change in Austrian agricultural policy

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Every year in late January, advocates of an industrialised and chemical-intensive agriculture use the Ecosocial Forum’s Winter Conference “Agricultural Policy Day” to talk up Austria’s agricultural policy. The topics this year were “The organic economy” and “Markets undergoing change”.

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UK Election Time: An Opportunity Not To Be Missed!

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After reading last week’s Farmers Weekly (the UK’s largest farming magazine), alarm bells were going off right, left and centre. Current farm gate prices are plummeting, making UK farmers lose vast sums of money across virtually all the staples and we know the blame lies firmly with government, large corporate food retailers and wholesalers, corporate food processors and large co-operative processors in many cases behaving like corporate groups.

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Member associations: Change at the top

Our member associations in Germany, France and Spain recently acquired new faces at the top. We asked the new presidents about their background and plans for the future.

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News from Brussels

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EMB Agenda

The EMB Board’s key dates in March 2015:

  • 02.03.:        “Milk” civil dialogue group meeting
  • 03.03.:        Meeting with MEPs
  • 04.03.:        Presentation of the Belgium cost study
  • 04.03.:        “CAP” civil dialogue group meeting
  • 05.03.:        Debate on the future of the dairy sector, Committee of the Regions
  • 18.03.:        “Milk Policy for the 21st Century” conference, EDA
  • 31.03.:        EMB vigil and symbolic action

Impressum

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