Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme will not be made mandatory – Hogan

The Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme will not be made mandatory in the future, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan has said.

Commissioner Hogan was responding to a question from Fine Gael TD Pat Deering at a meeting of the Government’s Agriculture Committee earlier today where he made it clear that there will be no return to milk quotas.

Commissioner Hogan said that the Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme was brought in to manage supply, that it has been a success because it was farmer-led, not co-op led.

“Farmers have responded magnificently to the scheme, 4,500 Irish farmers applied. One in four Irish farmers have applied.

“This high level of participation shows that there is a clear level of appetite for it.”

To date, the Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme has seen farmers apply to reduce their milk production by 98m litres in the EU, approximately 6.4m of which is from Irish farms, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Figures from the European Commission show that over 52,000 dairy farmers across Europe applied to take part in the first tranche of the milk reduction supply measure.

The volume of milk entered into the scheme varies from producer-to-producer, it said, but milk production in Europe is expected to fall by 2.9% in the final three months of 2016 on the back of this measure.

On the dairy sector, the Commissioner said that he was pleased to see that “something of a recovery” can be seen in the sector.

The general consensus is that market conditions have improved and that an effect of this can be seen in the milk price rises here in Ireland over the last few months, he said.