IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Kevin Kiersey and Secretary Catherine Lascurettes) made a strong case for a softer landing in the years up to 2015, in a critical European Parliament Round Table discussion in Brussels. IFA was joined by like-minded farm organisations from the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany in arguing in favour of measures allowing all milk producers to benefit from lower quota and superlevy costs before 2015.
However, Mr Kiersey warned that, in the face of strong resistance from the majority of member states to any change before quota abolition, lobbying and persuading to obtain such a change will be difficult and will take time, and Irish dairy farmers should seek to limit their exposure to superlevy for the foreseeable future.
Mr Kiersey explained: “The event was organised by German MEP Mrs Britta Reimers, a dairy farmer herself, and was also attended by German, Dutch and Danish Government representatives, MEPs, industry and farmer representatives and EU Commission officials.”
“Together with our European colleagues, we put forward a very solid argument showing that milk producers are being denied the benefit of soft landing in countries such as Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany, where the cost of quota and/or superlevy erodes farmers’ competitiveness unfairly,” he said.
“I believe we have a strong persuasive case to make, but I am also aware that it will take quite some time to progress it, in the face of significant opposition from many important member states,” he added.
“While we are totally committed to continuing our lobbying and to obtain a genuine soft landing for Irish farmers before 2015, it would be remiss of me not to advise farmers to remain vigilant on superlevy in the meantime,” he concluded.