Cllr Jackie Cahill is calling on the Minister for Agriculture to take urgent action to avert a looming crisis for Tipperary dairy farmers. The Fianna Fáil Councillor and former President of the ICMSA says that dairy farmers have seen their prices fall by up to 25% over the last three months with further falls in the year ahead predicted.
Speaking following a meeting with concerned dairy farmers in Thurles, Cllr Cahill commented, “I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture to take immediate steps to address the growing concerns that dairy farmers have regarding falling dairy prices. In recent weeks all attention has been placed on resolving the serious issue of the ongoing Beef Crisis. However the Minister cannot be allowed to forget about the growing plight of dairy farmers.
“Dairy farmers in Tipperary have seen their incomes take a major hit as a result of falling prices. In the last three months alone dairy prices have fallen by up to 25%. Further falls in prices have already been predicted for next year. If the current supply trend continues until 1st April 2015, farmers will be faced with a potential €100 million levy fine.
“Tipperary dairy farmers are already under intense pressure to meet expansion plans for when milk quotas are abolished next spring. Farmers have been encouraged to invest significantly in expanding their output and many have already borrowed extensively to do so. With the falling dairy prices many farmers are now facing financial armageddon. Without meaningful support it will be impossible to achieve the dairy targets as set out by the Minister in Food Harvest 2020.
“I am calling on the Minister to enter into intensive negotiations with Brussels with the view to getting strong concessions on our super levy to prevent financial disaster for dairy farmers. Market conditions have deteriorated significantly in recent months. In light of this Brussels must recognize the new challenges faced by dairy farmers, particularly in light of the recent Russian market disturbances.
“Minister Coveney has taken a hands off approach when dealing with the concerns that farmers have about beef prices. The escalation of the Beef Crisis in recent weeks has shown that this was the wrong approach to take. I am calling on the Minister not to repeat the same mistake twice. Decisive action must be taken now to get a concession from Brussells and avert a growing crisis for Tipperary dairy farmers” concluded Cllr Cahill.