Dairy farmers face fines as quota era nears end

Dairy farmers are bracing themselves for collective superlevy fines of up to €100m, with the Department of Agriculture estimating the sector is 5.07% over-quota to end of February.

With the EU’s milk quota restrictions due to end on March 31, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has said Ireland will still end the milk quota year significantly over quota, despite the February over-quota figure coming down from 5.47% to the end of January, and from 7.15% last October.

“This downward trend is welcome as we enter the final days of the milk quota regime. However, the reality is that we are facing into a significant superlevy,” said Mr Coveney.

The minister highlighted European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan’s support for a proposal allowing superlevy payments to be made in installments over three-years. He said this should help to ease the cashflow burden.

“We are entering the final ever week of milk quota. This is a massive milestone for Irish agriculture. The abolition of milk quota presents a tremendous opportunity for the Irish dairy sector which we can look forward to with confidence,” said Mr Coveney.


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