The body representing dairy farmers in the EU has said that reforms to agriculture policy are “urgently needed” to secure a future for sustainable agriculture.
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EU dairy farmers call for ‘urgent reforms’ of agri-policy

The European Milk Board (EMB) – an umbrella group of which the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) is a member – said this week that Europe’s farming system does not have a “healthy production structure”.

Instead, the board believes, EU farming is eroding and has led to a drastic reduction in the number of farms in Europe, which has decreased from 15 million in 2003 to less than 10 million now, a trend that the EMB said will continue.

This trend will mainly effect small- and medium-sized farms, due to lower profit margins and income driving farms to close.

EMB chairperson and Danish dairy farmer Kjartan Poulsen said: “Although the milk price is currently higher than usual and costs are covered for the first time in some regions, this does not make up for the major losses farmers have incurred over the past decade.

“On top of that, costs are increasing exponentially, and the prospect of prices soon being lowered means that their incomes will, once again, be put under enourmous pressure,” Poulsen added.

The measures and reforms the EMB is calling for include, among others:

-A ban on selling produce below the cost of production;
-Involvement of farmers in the development of concepts in the implementation of the European Green Deal;
-Adequate crisis instruments in the EU agriculture system;
-Strong producer organisations that can pool producers for a better negotiating position;
-Removing EU agriculture from free-trade agreements.

According to the EMB, a ban on below-cost selling would stabilise farmers’ incomes and the production structure in the EU.

Furthermore, objectives under the EU Green Deal, the EMB believes, are dictated to farmers, and they are expected to bear the additional financial burden from these strategies.

EMB vice-chairperson Elmar Hannen, from Germany, added: “The EU is able to come up with goals that are good for the current agricultural policy.

“But when these objectives are being given a reality check because the wrong course has been set, or because the right course has not been set, then neither we farmers nor the consumers will benefit.”

Wisconsin dairies were among National Mastitis Council’s “cream of the crop” for producing quality milk during its Feb. 2 National Dairy Quality Awards program.

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