Dairy Farmer Organisation EMB calls for Hogan’s Head

photo by Dominik Schraudolf
photo by Dominik Schraudolf

“Mr President, remove this incompetent Commissioner from his office!” The European Milk Board is calling on Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to sack Agri Commissioner Phil Hogan. And they want a response by 4th December.

“Phil Hogan does not have any solutions, nor does he want any” the EMB claim. “He however has displayed well enough his professional incompetence and his disregard for farmers.”

A number of failings have been noted by the unbrella organisation for 20 associations, representing about 100,000 dairy farmers in 15 European countries. On Hogan’s watch, dairy farmer incomes have plummeted, while the Commissioner has downplayed this reality:

“For months now, farm-gate milk prices in many countries have been only 25 and 30 cents per kilo, while it has been proven that production costs are higher than 40 cents. Some farms have already gone bankrupt. Others can only continue producing with the help of further loans of tens or hundreds thousands of euros.”

However, the EMB point out that ” at the last Agriculture Council, Commissioner Hogan spoke again about a stabilisation of the milk market” having previously denied that there was a crisis.

They add that “The price volatility of the last years also showed: short-term financial aid does nothing to change the essence of the problem! Therefore we call you to seriously study the crisis instrument put forward by the EMB and other organisations, which is based on voluntary production cuts”.

They suggest instead a market responsibility programme (see video below) which would manage supply and demand, rather than leave it all to the very volatile, but also now plummeting, global marketplace.

The MRP is a programme for the EU milk sector that is used when there is a risk of a milk market imbalance. A combination of monitoring and response to the market enables impending crises to be recognised and reacted to in a three-phase programme.

1. Early warning (Market Index falls by 7.5 %)

2. Crisis (Market Index falls by 15 %)

3. Obligatory cutback phase (Market Index falls by 25 %)

In a context of scientific studies showing that cost of production is higher than profitability in numerous EU Member States;  the Commissioner’s constitutional requirement to maintain standards of living for farmers; and finally of his “lack of expertise in the field of agriculture”, the EMB want Hogan to go.

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Oliver Moore
About Oliver Moore 165 Articles
DR. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC