Scottish dairy farmers deeply disappointed at superlevy let-off

NFU Scotland is deeply disappointed at Europe’s decision to allow producers in those Member States that have exceeded their milk quota to pay-up their superlevy fines interest-free over three years.

With the milk quota regime closing at the end of this month, the Union believes this last minute change to the rules hands an advantage to nations that have over-produced in 2014/15, exacerbated the milk price crisis across Europe and sends a signal to European producers to ‘turn-on-the-tap’ in the coming weeks, creating problems in the vital spring flush period.

NFU Scotland’s Milk Committee Chairman, Graeme Kilpatrick said:

“The vote today to allow dairy farmers in over-producing nations to repay the milk superlevy over three years will go down badly with Scottish dairy producers.

“This last-minute change to the quota rules – only weeks before the regime ends – hands an advantage to producers in some member states, some of whom have repeatedly broken quota limits over the years.

“All European milk producers were aware that quotas were coming to an end but that the usual levy system would operate if member state quota limits were breached. That has now changed.

“We, together with others, had suggested ways in which the superlevy collected this year could have been used to support the entire milk industry in this difficult year through export refunds and private storage aid. These ideas were rejected by the Commission on the grounds that the money to be collected had already been allocated in other spending areas.

“Worryingly, allowing European farmers to repay the milk super levy over three years means we can anticipate that production which had been pulled back through the threat of the superlevy will again be unleashed in the last few weeks of the scheme.

“There will be dairy farmers in over-producing nations who will now take their foot off the brake and this vote will see milk move straight back into the supply chain to exacerbate the spring flush production across Europe.

“This will, in turn, hurt all dairy farmers and will have a negative impact on Scottish milk producers at a time when the industry is going through a very difficult period.”

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