EMB Newsletter October 2019
Dear dairy farmers, dear interested parties,
Opening the tap to your milk tank and just letting it run empty requires courage. A lot of courage. About ten years ago, thousands of dairy farmers had to find the strength to perform this feat. Because they saw no other way forward. Because they could not envisage any future for their profession and their farms. And because milk is worth something. That is precisely why we decided to stop supplying milk and to pour it away or to spray it away in fields instead.
Dairy farmers in France and Belgium commemorated the milk strikes of 2008 and 2009 with impressive actions in mid-September. Our French colleagues organised a festival to honour the ten-year anniversary of the milk strikes in Normandy. In Ciney, Belgium, where millions of litres of milk were sprayed away in fields in 2009, we dairy farmers decided to strengthen our bond of solidarity yet again. Many colleagues from the neighbouring countries of Germany, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands drove over in their tractors. We also received support from farmers working in other sectors, who are themselves advocating for a fair agricultural policy. Many young farmers were also present and joined their voices with ours.
I am proud of my colleagues, I am proud of this extraordinary European movement, and I am especially proud of the solidarity between farmers. The milk strikes were an emotional and financial balancing act for us all. It was a fight for fair prices. And it was our farms, our families and our future at stake.
In this edition, you can read about the actions organised to commemorate the milk strikes that were organised ten years ago. I would also like to invite you to the upcoming Fair Milk Conference on 12 October in Libramont, Belgium, where European and African fair milk projects will be presented. The Golden Faironika will be awarded this year as well. She is a very special cow for very special achievements in favour of sustainable milk production.
We also have good news from the Fair Milk family – We are growing! Our Swiss colleagues have launched whole milk and five types of soft cheese under the brand Faireswiss. This brand belongs to farmers and guarantees them the income they deserve. Dear colleagues from Switzerland, welcome to the EMB Fair Milk family – we wish you every success!
On the political front, we have a lot on our plate in the upcoming weeks and months. With a new Commissioner for Agriculture and many new faces in the European Parliament, we have a lot of convincing to do. We are ready!
Erwin Schöpges, President of the European Milk Board