Don’t miss this month’s new look Dairy Farmer. Take a look at the digital edition today.
Whither Brexit? There can be little doubt many producers hate the EU with a passion. They hate the petty diktats, they hate the layered bureaucracy and they hate all that BPS nonsense they have to comply with.
But hold that EU anger for a moment as we have some of our very own. As dairy incomes crash to an unprecedented degree, Defra’s decision to allocate the Arla 13th payment to the February milk volumes, thus artificially inflating the price by 2.48p to a fairly comfortable average of 25.57p, is equally barmy.
That’s because the price, which is further skewed by 3p+ as a result of the retailer contracts, has already been reported to the EU Observatory and is now the official figure all the other member states use to judge our prices.
Does it matter? Well it does to the likes of EU Agriculture Commissioner Hogan. You may recall back in January 2015 he decided to delay any market support mechanisms.
“I am satisfied there is a considerable amount of profitability still in the dairy sector and there is no crisis,” he proclaimed. And he’ll probably think the same when he claps eyes on that 25.57ppl figure too.
Despite this, Defra has dug its heels in and has refused to change its clearly flawed methodology which depicts the exact opposite of reality.
Such intransigency from officials and decisions by unelected Commissioners is what really gets on producers’ goats and makes them wonder what planet others are on.
Regrettably, at EU level, it seems such pettifogging and subordination is the price we may have to be prepared to pay to continue to receive the undoubted benefits membership brings!
Peter Hollinshead, Editor