D-Day finally arrives for Milk Quotas

Andrew McHugh. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
Today, April 1, Milk Quotas will be abolished in Ireland after 30 years in existence.

Today, April 1, Milk Quotas will be abolished in Ireland after 30 years in existence.

Longford farmer Andrew McHugh said there was some justification for the introduction of quotas but added that their abolition presented a new opportunity for Irish farmers.

“They had to come in because of the oversupply of milk,” he said, adding that there were ‘butter mountains’ across Europe, back in the 1980s.

“At that time, Ireland was producing five billion litres of milk and today it is still producing five billion litres, whereas New Zealand, for example, went from producing five billion litres to 20 billion litres.”

Mr McHugh went on to say that these days, the demand for dairy produce across the world was on the increase and Milk Quotas simply no longer had a role to play in modern agriculture.

“The demand for dairy produce is growing at a rate of 2% annually and that is providing great opportunities for Ireland,” he confirmed.

“There won’t be any major jump into milking by farmers in Longford, however, but nonetheless there will be a steady stream back.”

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney TD told the Longford Leader recently, that putting an end to the quotas was a positive step for Ireland.

“I am really optimistic about rural Ireland and agriculture as its very heartbeat,” the Minister added.

“The opportunities in agriculture, food and the drinks industry in rural parts of Ireland is more exciting now than it has been at any moment in my lifetime, anyway.

“From a diary perspective, the removal of Milk Quotas will become, for many counties, the most significant policy decision in our lifetime; we will see Ireland becoming the fastest growing dairy producer on the planet for the next 10 years, if not longer.”

It is believed that most dairy farmers will increase their herds by around 10%. There are currently 7,500 cows being milked in Longford on 143 dairy farms in the county.