Noting the latest announcement by the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine showing that the official milk quota position at the end of September 2014 was 6.94% over quota, The ICMSA Deputy President, Pat McCormack, said there was now a clearly identifiable double-threat in the form of punitive superlevy fines coming on top of the present price squeeze. Mr McCormack said that it was incumbent upon serious observers to present the facts as they were and issue warnings where real threats could be recognised and on that basis he was in no doubt that on present figures a very challenging cash-flow situation comparable to Spring 2013 for the farmers affected by a super-levy.
“The projected superlevy could be close to €110m given the current percentage overruns and instead of slowing down September showed a further increase in the projected superlevy figure. Farmers need to be very mindful and much more alert to the scale of the potential fine that will come their way. The amount of flexi-milk will be minuscule and the likelihood is that producers under 350,000 litres will also find themselves very much exposed as all Co-ops are either on – or well ahead of – quota. ICMSA prides itself on taking a sober approach to short and medium-term analysis, but frankly the red lights are flashing very bright right now.”
Mr. McCormack also said that the possibility and rumours of a last minute miracle being produced at European level need to be quashed as there are Member States within the European Union not in favour of the elimination of superlevy, leaving as the only real option the possibility of a butterfat adjustment – which ICMSA continues to lobby for.
“We must treat the final year the same as all of the previous thirty years and realise that the same rules apply. Even with a relaxing of the rules on butterfat and the holding of milk for the final days of the March, the country will still pay the highest superlevy of the quota period if production stays as it is. We need to proceed very carefully from this point and we’ll need some recognition from the Minister of Agriculture that his priority is going to be the sustenance of our family dairy farm sector through what is starting to look like a very challenging period indeed”, concluded Mr McCormack.
Ends. 17 October 2014.
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office