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MILK-NEWS

http://www.europeanmilkboard.org

Dear Dairy Farmers and Interested Parties,

The conference on the future of the milk market after 2015, a conference of considerable importance to us dairy farmers, was held in Brussels on 24 September. We dairy farmers in the EMB put on a good performance and came across as a constructive voice in the dairy sector equipped with scientific expertise. So we can be extremely proud of our achievements – especially in the face of the supposedly powerful dairy industry and its associations. All their money and highly paid professional lobbyists have achieved nothing for them. When the issue is milk, it is still the farmers who espouse good prospects for the future with expertise and, above all, with heart and soul.

Following the disappointments about the outcome of the reform of the organisation of the European agricultural market – in which sensible measures such as the voluntary production cuts unfortunately generated no interest – this conference did us dairy farmers good. As reported in this EMB Newsletter, the European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos announced in his opening speech that the European Commission was planning to set up a monitoring agency for the milk market. The aim is to create greater transparency and with it less price volatility in the market. However, whether this aim can be achieved without instruments for flexible supply management is still highly questionable. At any rate the first step has been taken, though, and it is certainly possible that the monitoring agency can be given more powers in the future.

The important thing now is for us dairy farmers to take the European policy-makers at their word and for the European Commission to carry on its good initiative. The Commission intends to evaluate the milk conference and draw conclusions from it by the end of the year. It is vital that the Commission specifies measures and instruments for the milk market that are as concrete as possible.

Unfortunately the timeframe until the end of Commissioner for Agriculture Ciolos’s term of office in the middle of next year is short. That is why it is imperative that new and above all legally binding proposals from the European Commission be put on the table by then. We dairy farmers in the EMB will therefore support the European Commission’s positive path in the next few months – no matter where – yet pipe up loudly in Brussels if it veers away from this path.

Romuald Schaber (President of the EMB)

EU Commissioner for Agriculture announces setting up of a monitoring agency for the milk market

According to a statement made in Brussels on 24 September by the European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos during the major conference on the future of the EU milk market after 2015, the European Commission is planning to set up a monitoring agency for the milk market. On a monthly or quarterly basis, this agency is to report on the development of milk production and consumption, thus softening the impact of increasing price volatility in the milk market after 2015. It could therefore operate as an early warning mechanism for severe imbalances in the market. The Commissioner said thought still had to be given to the precise structure and configuration of the monitoring agency.

read more...

Milk conference in Brussels: European dairy farmers present scientifically based proposals for EU milk market after 2015

The following press release was published on the occasion of the conference "The EU dairy sector: developing beyond 2015" on 24 September 2013 in Brussels.

(Brussels, 25th September 2013) About 450 representatives of the whole dairy sector as well as of the European Institutions met yesterday at a conference in Brussels in order to discuss about the future of EU milk markets after the abolition of milk quotas in 2015. At the conference, the European Commission presented the results of a large study on the EU milk market after 2015, to which the different actors of the EU milk sector were invited to react. The European Commission's intention is to use the information and opinions collected at the conference as a basis when deciding on whether further legislative measures need to be taken for the milk sector.

read more...

Publication of scientific study on the EU monitoring agency

The key demand of the European Milk Board (EMB) for a European monitoring agency aimed at flexible supply management in the EU milk market has been scientifically substantiated for the first time by a study. The expert opinion was drawn up by the Büro für Agrar- und Regionalentwicklung (Office for Agricultural and Regional Development) in Germany headed up by scientist Dr. Andrea Fink-Keßler and was officially presented in Brussels on 24 September at a conference on the future of the EU milk market after 2015.

The starting point of the study is the European milk crisis of 2008/09 and the deregulation of the EU milk markets that started back in 2003.

read more...

New fair whole milk started in Belgium

In Belgium the Fair Milk product family initiated by the EMB in Europe has a new member. After the successful launch of the semi-skimmed milk, the chocolate-flavoured whole milk and an ice-cream, the Faircoop co-operative’s range has now been extended by a whole milk under the Fairebel label. The majority of Faircoop members belong to the Belgian EMB affiliate MIG.

Fairebel whole milk was officially presented to the public on 28 September 2013 at a press conference in the heart of Brussels. Living cows and the EMB’s well-known colourful artificial cows, the Faironikas, created an incomparable backdrop, making the opening event on that day a welcome attraction for interested members of the public and families with children.

read more...

Report from Switzerland

Milk prices in Switzerland continue to be too low. BOM, the inter-branch organisation dominated by retail chains and milk processors, does not intend to raise the target price. Although the target price is only a recommendation, an increase which the producers have been demanding for months would certainly send out the right signal to the players.

read more...

EMB Calendar

Please find below some of the most important events in October 2013:

  • 14.10.: Advisory group on CAP of the European Commission in Brussels

  • 15.10.: Meeting of the EMB board in Brussels

read more...

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Full Texts

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EU Commissioner for Agriculture announces setting up of a monitoring agency for the milk market

According to a statement made in Brussels on 24 September by the European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos during the major conference on the future of the EU milk market after 2015, the European Commission is planning to set up a monitoring agency for the milk market. On a monthly or quarterly basis, this agency is to report on the development of milk production and consumption, thus softening the impact of increasing price volatility in the milk market after 2015. It could therefore operate as an early warning mechanism for severe imbalances in the market. The Commissioner said thought still had to be given to the precise structure and configuration of the monitoring agency.

The European Milk Board regards the European Commission’s plan to set up the market monitoring agency as a first step in the right direction. Transparency in the market is absolutely essential to being able to react flexibly and promptly to imbalances in the market. However, what is still imperative is for the agency to have the power to actively control supply in the milk market. Only then can the negative consequences of severe price volatility for producers and consumers be combated effectively.

Christian Schnier (EMB)

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Milk conference in Brussels: European dairy farmers present scientifically based proposals for EU milk market after 2015

The following press release was published on the occasion of the conference "The EU dairy sector: developing beyond 2015" on 24 September 2013 in Brussels.

(Brussels, 25th September 2013) About 450 representatives of the whole dairy sector as well as of the European Institutions met yesterday at a conference in Brussels in order to discuss about the future of EU milk markets after the abolition of milk quotas in 2015. At the conference, the European Commission presented the results of a large study on the EU milk market after 2015, to which the different actors of the EU milk sector were invited to react. The European Commission's intention is to use the information and opinions collected at the conference as a basis when deciding on whether further legislative measures need to be taken for the milk sector.

As one of the three main speakers at the conference and as the only organisation representing exclusively the interests of European milk producers, the European Milk Board (EMB) had the opportunity to present its own proposals for the EU milk market after 2015. EMB-President Romuald Schaber and Ms Andrea Fink-Kessler from the German Büro für Agrar- und Regionalentwicklung (BAR) presented the contents and conclusions of the new study on the instrument of a European Monitoring Agency, commissioned by the EMB. According to the study results, a European Monitoring Agency could  - through a flexible adjustment of produced milk volumes to demand - guarantee a solid market balance and keep milk prices on average at a cost-covering level. That way a sustainable and widespread milk production and supply in the EU would be guaranteed.

After the conference, EMB-President Romuald Schaber explained: "Today's conference confirmed once more how important it is that the milk producers of the EMB show their determination and put forward their knowledge and expertise in the discussion on the milk market after 2015. The dangerous and unrealistic ideology of a liberalisation of the milk market needs to be countered with strong arguments. We thereby need to have a critical view on forecasts of future developments. Past experience has shown that prognoses usually do not correspond to what happens later in reality. Therefore it is essential to have good instruments at our disposal, which allow us to always react to developments on the market in a flexible way. »

Christian Schnier (EMB)

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Publication of scientific study on the EU monitoring agency

The key demand of the European Milk Board (EMB) for a European monitoring agency aimed at flexible supply management in the EU milk market has been scientifically substantiated for the first time by a study. The expert opinion was drawn up by the Büro für Agrar- und Regionalentwicklung (Office for Agricultural and Regional Development) in Germany headed up by scientist Dr. Andrea Fink-Keßler and was officially presented in Brussels on 24 September at a conference on the future of the EU milk market after 2015.

The starting point of the study is the European milk crisis of 2008/09 and the deregulation of the EU milk markets that started back in 2003. It can be said without exaggeration that, in view of the situation in the milk market already threatening the livelihoods of producers, the future after the abolition of the milk quotas in 2015 has already begun. The facts speak for themselves: in the EU-15 one in five milk producers gave up their farm between 2007 and 2009. In the EU-27 one in three farms had to go the same way.

The study shows in a shocking way how the milk crisis and the subsequent years have bled many farms dry financially. The milk producers have lost revenue, been unable to pay off their debts, used up any reserves still remaining, and in some cases been driven to bankruptcy. The hardest hit have been the large, expanding specialised dairy farms the politicians and consultants regarded as the future of Europe.

And it is not even the consumer who has benefited from the low farm-gate milk prices. For instance in 2009 instead of falling, consumer prices were still 14 per cent up on pre-crisis prices. According to the study, consumer prices are “largely detached” from milk producer prices, as the European Commission likewise established in a 2009 report on the food supply chain.

The study on the monitoring agency concludes that political approaches and instruments like the Milk Package are inadequate or do not tackle at the root the main evil in the milk market – the overproduction of milk. There is political scope for action in place. Article 39 itself of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU states that the EU agricultural policy must ensure stable markets and a fair standard of living for the agricultural community. Moreover, statistical empirical figures since the milk crisis show that the milk markets can be stabilised by a relatively small reduction of one to two per cent in volumes.

According to the study, a European monitoring agency with generally binding powers would enable the market’s price signals to be transmitted swiftly and effectively to the milk producers. The flexible adjustment of the milk production volume could strengthen the balance in the market and achieve stable prices within a target price bracket on an average cost-covering level. Thus the monitoring agency would be a realistic way of securing milk production throughout the EU and maintaining a vital branch of the economy, especially in disadvantaged areas and mountain regions.

Details of the results and conclusions can be read in both the short and long version of the study. It can be downloaded from the European Milk Board’s website at: http://www.europeanmilkboard.org/emb/positions.html

Christian Schnier (EMB)

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New fair whole milk started in Belgium

In Belgium the Fair Milk product family initiated by the EMB in Europe has a new member. After the successful launch of the semi-skimmed milk, the chocolate-flavoured whole milk and an ice-cream, the Faircoop co-operative’s range has now been extended by a whole milk under the Fairebel label. The majority of Faircoop members belong to the Belgian EMB affiliate MIG.

Fairebel whole milk was officially presented to the public on 28 September 2013 at a press conference in the heart of Brussels. Living cows and the EMB’s well-known colourful artificial cows, the Faironikas, created an incomparable backdrop, making the opening event on that day a welcome attraction for interested members of the public and families with children.

True to the original ethos of Fairebel, just like all the other products in the range the whole milk is being sold at a price that guarantees everyone involved in production and marketing fair pay and the consumer a fair price. In addition Fairebel wants to offer consumers a real whole milk again and reflect the natural circumstance that the fat content of cow’s milk varies in the course of the seasons owing to the feed available and daylight. Unlike customary whole milk, standardised at 3.5% fat content, the fat content of Fairebel whole milk varies between 3.8 and 4.4 %. Although the latest UHT technology guarantees long life, taste and quality of the milk approximate to raw milk. Belgian consumers now have something to smile about.

Erwin Schöpges (President Faircoop)

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Report from Switzerland

Milk prices in Switzerland continue to be too low. BOM, the inter-branch organisation dominated by retail chains and milk processors, does not intend to raise the target price. Although the target price is only a recommendation, an increase which the producers have been demanding for months would certainly send out the right signal to the players. There are three main reasons for the prevention of the price rise:

  • The dairies which invested heavily in production plant for industrial products before the increase in quotas are in financial difficulties. Price rises are not so easy to put into practice in this product category. They are simply too easy to exchange. These dairies are therefore unable to implement the target price for the farmers in the market. And on top of that, because they pay the worst prices they now receive too little milk to exploit production capacities to the full.

  • The number of dairy cows has dwindled. The main reason for this is continually low returns. In the current situation many farmers are studying alternatives to their previous milk buyer. When farm-gate prices of milk drift dramatically apart owing to the different product ranges, change is inevitable. Yet such changes would pose even more of a threat to those dairies already hit.

  • The retail chains have championed the fight against high prices. So they steadfastly refuse to accept higher milk prices. And they know full well that their market power is such that milk price rises can only be put into practice if accepted by them.

The emerging scenario in Switzerland is clearly that continually poor milk returns affect the production volume. Milk prices have been rock-bottom for years, which is why the farms are urgently reliant on obtaining some relief with their finances, at least in the current favourable market situation. Yet those at the top of BOM are blind to all realities, and even the development in recent months has evidently given nobody serious food for thought: last year with the dairy farmers’ compulsory levies, Switzerland was still offloading 10,000 tons of butter on the world market. This year, on the other hand, Switzerland has imported 500 tons of butter.

Werner Locher (BIG-M)

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EMB Calendar

Please find below some of the most important events in October 2013:

  • 14.10.: Advisory group on CAP of the European Commission in Brussels

  • 15.10.: Meeting of the EMB board in Brussels

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