Coveney: Intervention price needs to be raised to 25c/l
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said there is no link between the removal of EU dairy quotas in April this year and the global fall in dairy prices.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s Today with Sean O’Rourke programme on Friday morning, Coveney clarified that the current crisis in dairy markets is linked to geopolitical events such as the Russian ban on EU food products and the over-purchasing of dairy products in China in recent years.

He said for the media to link the removal of quotas to the current crisis is not a fair reflection of the work that had gone into preparing for the end of the quota era.

“It was predicted by many analysts that 2015 would be a bad year for price volatility,” he said. “This is due to a number of factors not related to the lifting of milk quotas such as the Russian ban on food products and the over-purchasing of milk products in China. [China] has a lot of milk in store so the demand is just not there at the moment.”

He added that price volatility is not new. “In 2009, the price fell to 21c/l. Then for the last three years we have had strong prices where supply was not meeting demand and farmers were getting as high as 40c/l. These low prices are not the norm for dairy farmers and they will improve.”

Call for raise in intervention price

Coveney will be meeting with EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan in Brussels on Thursday 27 August to discuss the tools the European Commission can use to help dairy farmers through this difficult period. The tools range from an increase in the intervention price, which the minister says he will again ask Hogan to consider, to increasing supports for aid to private storage. The intervention price is currently the equivalent of around 21c/l and Coveney said he would like to see the price increased to 25c/l at the very least.

Export refunds, where dairy product is sold cheaply on the market and the EU makes up the difference, will also be up for discussion but Coveney added this is the least likely of all the options to be implemented.

These tools will also be discussed at the emergency meeting of EU agricultural ministers in Brussels on 7 September.

The minister said he has also asked Irish banks to be flexible with dairy farmers who have taken out loans in order to expand.

“I want to say to farmers at this time that I know this is a difficult time but it’s temporary. It will be resolved in time and there is growing demand for dairy products across the globe.”

Referring to the positive mood in Ireland around the time of the removal of quotas back in April, Coveney said farmers were right to celebrate it, as the future for the dairy industry is very bright.

“There has been a 10% increase in milk output since the lifting of quotas so the future is very bright for the dairy industry in Ireland,” he said.

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Agri jobs: dairy, meat processing and horticulture jobs
We take a look at what jobs are out there at the moment in the agricultural sector.

Horticulture worker

A horticulture worker is required on a farm in Kells, Co Kilkenny. General duties will include carrying out all work associated with cropping, repairing and maintaining farm vehicles and digging and planting seeds.

Other work will include harvesting fruit and vegetables. The salary is €22,000/year.

For more information on this role, click here.

Dairy farm manager

A dairy farm worker is required for an expanding grass-based dairy operation in Co Laois. The successful candidate could progress to being the dairy farm manager.

This dairy enterprise is running two dairy herds, one in Ballacolla and one in Rathdowney. Both farms are new greenfield sites which have modern milking facilities.

For further details, click here.

Dairy farm worker

A farm worker is required for a family-run dairy farm with a modern set up and expanding herd in Co Monaghan. Duties will include milking cows, feeding calves, machinery work and general farm work.

Experience is desirable and a Green Cert is preferable. A full clean driving licence is essential.

To apply for this job, click here.

Dairy farm worker

A farm worker is required to work on a progressive dairy farm in Co Cork.

Duties will include milking cows, rearing calves and grassland management. Some experience is an advantage for the role.

For more information on this position, click here.

Meat processing operatives

Ballon Meats in Carlow is looking to hire meat processing operatives to work as part of the factory processing team producing meat to fulfil production targets on a daily and weekly basis.

The successful candidates will be required to work in all areas of the factory, where you will be required to work on your own initiative and as part of a team.

For more information on this position, click here.

Beef and dairy bosses demand Brexit action from Creed
Imposing tariffs on exports would "cripple trade", meat and dairy factory representatives have warned.

Beef and dairy bosses braced for a hard Brexit have handed a list of demands to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.

With 65 days remaining to salvage a Brexit deal, the nightmare scenario of a no-deal is becoming ever more likely.

A delegation including Aurivo’s Aaron Forde, ABP’s Martin Kane, Larry Murrin of Dawn Farms Foods, Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland and Conor Mulvihill of Dairy Industry Ireland, met with Minister Creed on Tuesday.

Dairy co-ops want dual British-Irish status for Northern Ireland milk, export refunds and other trade supports. They called for a freeze on tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit and direct income aid for farmers.

Meat factory representatives warned that if tariffs are imposed on exports to the UK “it would cripple trade”, with the additional danger of sterling devaluation in a no-deal outcome.

They called for extra resources to ensure speedy border checks and increased ferry capacity and routes for direct shipping to the continent.

While European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan reassured farmers Brussels is poised to swoop to their aid, a Commission spokesman confirmed a hard border is inevitable unless the British reach an agreement with the EU or delay their withdrawal.

Read more

No-deal Brexit to add 21c/l in cheddar processing costs

EU 'stands ready' to support farmers - Hogan
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has assured farmers that Europe is planning for all possible outcomes from Brexit negotiations.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has moved to reassure farmers that the EU stands ready to intervene in markets to protect prices in the event of a hard Brexit.

“We have to prepare for the worst. The European Union stands ready to help Irish and EU farmers in the event of a hard Brexit,” Commissioner Hogan said, addressing a crowd of more than 250 farmers at the Kilkenny IFA annual dinner dance on Saturday night.

“We have the tools ready to intervene, including Aid to Private Storage, intervention and a revision of state aid rules,” he added.

Slow

His words will help give farmers comfort that, while Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been slow to commit to supports, plans for a safety net at EU level are well advanced.

Hogan reassured farmers that the EU is ready for all scenarios, but warned that the Government must also be ready and ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure products can continue to move through ports.

Gloomy

While a no-deal Brexit paints a gloomy picture, vice president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness is reminding farmers that it could be avoided if a deal is reached between the EU and UK. But, she says, plans are being put in place to deal with a no-deal scenario.

“There are deep concerns about the consequences,” McGuinness told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“We will need to be looking at how you are going to support a vulnerable sector, that will call for money.

"All of those things will have to be discussed in the short period of time before the United Kingdom leaves.”