IFA seeks superlevy relief while milk prices remain low

The IFA is calling on Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to suspend superlevy repayments while milk prices remain below the cost of production.

In his first meeting with the minister, IFA president Joe Healy has also called for immediate payment of TAMS 1 and 2 tranches to the 5,000 farmers who applied, and for sheep fencing and tillage measures to be included under TAMS.

“Government and the EU Commission in Brussels must take measures across the board to assist farmers through the current difficulties,” said Mr Healy.

With some co-ops set to cut their milk prices further, IFA dairy chairman, Sean O’Leary, has called upon the minister to implement a state-aid funded scheme to relieve dairy farmers’ cash flow pressures from superlevy and merchant credit.

“The average superlevy fine still outstanding is in the order of €10,000 per farm, while co-ops estimate the average outstanding merchant credit per dairy farm is around €30,000.

"These are hefty repayment demands for farmers to find over the coming peak months, with milk output value down dramatically due to low prices compounded by low spring constituents,” Mr O’Leary said.

“Providing state-aid funded short-term loans allowing a farmer owing both above to take a repayment break of up to two years would cost no more than €1,200 in state aid for the entire period — well within the €15,000 annual maximum state aid permitted by the EU,” he said.

Meanwhile, IFA delegates also met with Bord Bia, and have agreed plans to accommodate any livestock farmers with Quality Assurance scheme issues with an early re-audit, rather than face a six-month expulsion.


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