Monday 26 September 2016

EU fines farmers €69m for producing too much milk

Published 23/04/2015 | 02:30

Farmers in Ireland face a €69m fine after finishing the year 4.3pc over milk quota
Farmers in Ireland face a €69m fine after finishing the year 4.3pc over milk quota
Pictured at the NDC & INDI Sports Nutrition Symposium were (L-R): Ireland rugby players Rob Kearney and Dave Kearney with Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food & The Marine.
(LtoR) Claire Bambrick from Callan, Kilkenny, Ciara O'Donovan from Whitegate Cork and Stephen O'Keeffe from Effin co Limerick posing for the selfie competition at Macras Dairy Fest event in UCD for National Dairy Week. Photo: El keegan

Farmers in Ireland face a €69m fine after finishing the year 4.3pc over milk quota.

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The superlevy fine is imposed by the EU on countries that produce more milk than permitted under the old quota arrangements that were scrapped on April 1.

The Department of Agriculture estimated last night that the final bill will be €69m, based on 4.34pc overproduction in the year to the end of March 2015.

That would average nearly €4,000 each for Ireland's 18,000 dairy farmers - but in fact it will hit some producers much harder, as only those who produced too much milk are liable.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association said EU farmers would pay out a staggering €750m altogether, which was "illogical and absurd".

"This is a very serious siphoning off of substantial sums of money at a time when dairy farmers are being encouraged to expand and scale up," said ICMSA deputy president Pat McCormack.

It is believed many farmers delayed delivering milk in the last few days of the quota regime as milk delivered to dairies from April 1 on no longer contributed to the quota overrun.

A spokesman for the department said the superlevy fine is lower than the €100m-plus anticipated last year, thanks to farmers' efforts to reduce supply in recent months.

A scheme to allow farmers pay the superlevy fine over three years is currently being completed, under which the department will pay the EU the full fine by the end of November 2015 and then recoup the money from farmers in stages.

Irish Independent

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