IN A SUMMER that was particularly bad for the farming community, one North Wexford farmer has felt it worse than most as he was fined €18,000 for overproducing milk in the year spanning from April 2011 to March 2012. Dairy farmer Sam Rose from Kilanerin received the fine at the end of March and has been paying
monthly instalments to his local co-op throughout the summer. 'It was March 31 I think that it came into effect and then the co-op have been stopping it out of the milk cheques throughout the year.'
'How it happened was we just got overstocked and couldn't get rid of it quick enough,' Sam said. ' That's the gamble you take I suppose.'
Sam operates the farm in Kilanerin with his two sons, and he says that under the current quota system it is impossible for them to expand production in the way they wanted, despite an investment of €750,000 they'd made in their dairy facilities.
' We have 100 cows, so we're effectively limited to 33 each, which isn't much,' Sam said. With an extremely bad summer adding to Sam's worries, the fine couldn't have come at a worse time.
'It was a very bad summer for farmers,' he said.
' We had to pay out a lot extra for feed and then the cows weren't producing as much milk, so bills were higher than usual. Then paying back the fine didn't help matters. It's a huge chunk of this year's earnings. I'd say it will take another year before we're fully over it and back to normal.'