Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I talk to BBC about Ireland and the end of milk quota

The end of milk quota has come and gone. Irish farmers are finally able to sell every litre of milk they produce instead of hiding it in barrels or stuffing it into calves which was what was going on aplenty until Tuesday night last week. 

And it's not just Ireland that's celebrating. The entire dairy farming community of the EU has now entered an unfettered period of milking cows without restrictions. Farms from Slovenia to Sligo are scaling up and anticipating increasing markets for milk. But as we know, success isn't an upwards-only journey. 

In 2009, during the early stages of global markets opening up to Irish milk, prices fell heavily. Many Irish farmers were burned, forced to sell milk below the cost of production. In the UK there are only 10,000 dairy farms left against the 18000 here with a fraction of the population. The dairy sector there has been decimated, with family farms loading their herds into lorries for the factory as cull cows who they've bred on the same land for generations. 

The next few years are going to be interesting to say the least and price volatility is certainly going to be central to this quota-free era.  

Here's an appraisal of this huge shift in farming which I contributed to for BBC news.  

[I do love the BBC form of "Ms. Campbell". At least it's not Mrs. Philip Boucher-Hayes which I get all the time..]

BBC news talk Europe, Ireland and the end of milk quota

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