Viewpoint: Don't let the €4m of extra milk levies be spent on PR
Amid all the debate about dairy expansion, I don't hear much discussion on how the extra milk levies should be spent. Startling figures revealed in this paper last week show that milk production is on course to one billion litres higher this year compared to 2010.
While the dairy industry deserves a pat on the back for such a meteoric rise, farmers should also pay attention to the detail of where the proceeds from all this extra volume flows, because it certainly isn't all flowing back into their pockets.
We know that up to 0.5c is skimmed off the litre of milk leaving the bulk tank.
It's actually more if you are a liquid milk farmer outside of Kerry - Kerry spring milk suppliers are only paying 0.3c/l courtesy of their co-op telling Ornua where to go with its 0.14c/l levy.
The other skimmers include the National Dairy Council, the National Milk Agency, Department of Agriculture inspectors, TB programmes and Teagasc.
What we don't know exactly - and probably never will - is what the farm organisations take out of the pot.
We know it's 0.15pc of the value of the litre, and I reckon it was close to €2.5m during the quota days.
While it's conveniently concealed under the meaningless 'European Involvement Fund' heading on your milk statement, at least you have direct control over it, with the option to opt out whenever you want.