With co-op boards to meet from early this week to consider the price for June milk, IFA President Joe Healy and National Dairy Chairman Sean O’Leary have written to co-ops’ Chairmen and CEOs to ask that their request to now make a firm milk price commitment to year end be read out at the meetings.
Joe Healy said: “The end of milk quotas created a real opportunity for the Irish dairy sector to develop its potential to supply a rapidly growing global dairy demand. It has regrettably coincided with a downturn worsened by output growth in all the world’s dairy regions and pressure on global demand from the Russian ban, the withdrawal of Chinese demand and lower oil revenues.
“The long term outlook for the sector remains positive, but farmers’ financial situation and confidence have been severely dented by two years of falling milk prices. The impact has reached breaking point, and I now talk every day to farmers who are struggling to meet their family’s needs, never mind pay their input and other business bills.
“With global milk output slowing and dairy commodity prices firming, we are now asking co-op board members, who have supported farmers, to show the confidence to make a solid milk price commitment for the remainder of 2016,” he said.
“We have very specifically asked co-op Chairmen and CEOs to read out our letter to their board members on the occasion of their next meeting, the one which will consider the milk price for June milk,” he said.
IFA National Dairy Chairman Sean O’Leary added: “This commitment must be, as a minimum, about holding current pay-outs to year end, and exploring every opportunity over the coming months to achieve efficiencies and pass back improving market returns to farmers”.
“President Joe Healy and I intend to visit dairy co-operatives over the summer to consider ways in which we can jointly effect Government and EU policies to deal with the cash flow crisis on dairy farms, which we expect will be coming to a head over the autumn. We have made detailed proposals to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed for state-aid backed low cost loans to give farmers relief from superlevy, merchant credit or other bills currently stressing their cash flow and income, and the Minister must deliver those urgently,” Sean O’Leary concluded.