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Dear Dairy Farmers and Interested Parties,

The scale and nature of the challenges facing the EU’s farming sector are such that certain characteristics must be a prerequisite for  anyone seeking the office of EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner. They should be determined and dogged and have an in-depth understanding of all aspects of their briefs – most specifically, they must be absolutely determined to defend EU  farmers and primary food producers from the multiple threats posed by, in the first instance, Mercosur and TTIP  talks. Very few could argue that Phil Hogan does not possess precisely those dogged and combative qualities and that is why ICMSA welcomed his appointment. EU farmers need someone who’s going to fight on their behalf and it’s our belief that in Phil Hogan they’ve got someone who will do exactly that.

In recognising this appointment, I’d like to stress that ICMSA  has,  in common with many others in Ireland, reservations about the policy of water charges introduced by (then)  Minister Hogan and we were particularly concerned by how they would affect farmers. We were -  and remain – very  critical of the grossly unfair multi-metering aspect which will heavily penalise fragmented farm holdings.  Mr Hogan knows what we  think -  we have told him often enough.

But if, on occasion, we have been frustrated by his ability to ‘dig in’ and adopt an unyielding stance, we are now encouraged by the knowledge that that this same  drive and refusal to budge on what he believes to be key principles will now be employed for the welfare and betterment of the EU’s farmers and their families.

It seems the very first item on the agenda will be the ongoing  crisis management arising from the Russian ban and the possibility of that being relaxed as the peace deal brokered with Ukraine (hopefully) holds. Without denigrating the threat posed by the ban,  the damage that would be inflicted by flawed Mercosur agreement would be multiple times worse and would almost certainly provide a fatal blow  to EU beef production. Similar levels  of damage would be inflicted on the EU’s dairy producers and it would be a mistake to assume that such a disaster could never happen. There are a number of Member States,  the UK prominent amongst them, who  would have little or no  compunction sacrificing EU farmers  on the altar of a free trade agreement that would allow them unhindered access to Brazilian or Argentinean markets for their financial  services or tech exports.

The paramount question,  of course, will be the degree of market-monitoring and supply-controls necessary in the post-quota scenario fast approaching. That will  have to  be fully explored and serious consideration in this  direction increasingly looks more like  a probability than a possibility – particularly  if the downward price pressures in the markets continue.

John Comer, Member of the EMB Board and ICMSA President

The new Agriculture Commissioner: Phil Hogan

© Kilkenny Leader Partnership

Phil Hogan – Ireland’s former Minister of the Environment – will succeed Dacian Ciolos as Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. Ciolos was originally nominated by Romania as Commissioner, but had to give way for his fellow countrywoman Corina Cretu at the last minute.



New Commissioner must put responsible milk policy into practice


Joint press release of EMB, AbL, BDM, Germanwatch and MISEREOR:


(Berlin, 01.10.2014) Tomorrow Phil Hogan, the designated European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, will face questions from Members of the European Parliament in an official first consultation. This is why a coalition of non-governmental organisations calls on him to advocate sustainable family farming.


The Russian import embargo – measures for the milk market

© wikimedia commons

The measures planned by the European Commission for the milk market are an important sign – although they will not be able to give the milk market sufficient stability. The withdrawal of the measures (both the private storage of cheese and the fruit measures) shows clearly that the aid programmes were not properly thought through and are ultimately of no benefit to those countries hardest hit by the ban on imports.


Spain: OPL Meeting with supermarket chain Mercadona

© wikimedia commons

Spanish milk producers’ organization OPL (Organización de Productores de Leche) has presented its demands to the Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona in a first of a round of meetings. The demands include: increasing farm-gate milk prices and informing the consumers about the origin of the milk cartons to guarantee the sale of Spanish milk.



France: The current situation in Brittany

© wikimedia commons

There is no mention of it yet in the agricultural journals. The dairies’ strategic plan is already into 2015 or 2020 and is constantly in search of extra volumes of milk to secure future consumption from all over the world. The great thinkers of the agriculture sector are mentally still in the spring season.


The Swiss milk market: here to stay - Lactofama

© wikimedia commons

Extract from the article by Roland Wyss-Aerni published in alimenta – the food sector trade journal (issue 17 of 8 September 2014)


Brief news from Brussels

© wikimedia commons

EMB Agenda

The key dates for the EMB Board in October 2014 are:

  • 2.10.:       Ministry of Agriculture meeting in Spain
  • 7.10.:       Board meeting in Brussels
  • 7.-8.10.:   Talks with MEPs
  • 9.10.:       Civial Dialogue Group meeting (Animal Products)
  • 14.10.:     Meeting with the Lithuanian Ministry of Agriculture
  • 22.10.:     Workshop: Assessment of the Consequences of the Abolition of Quotas
  • 24.10.:     Civial Dialogue Group meeting (Direct Payments & Greening)
  • 28.10.:     Civial Dialogue Group meeting (Animal Products)


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