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Strengthening the position of dairy producers

About 250 dairy producers followed the invitation to by the German Federal Dairy Farmers Association (BDM e.V.) to join the 5th DBM Farmers’ Day in Karow (Mecklenburg-Werstern Pomerania)  on 11 April 2012. The day was focused on the topic of how to improve the position of milk producers against dairies. After the official welcome ceremony, the currently poor milk price was discussed.

Dr. Till Backhaus, Minister of Agriculture, showed concern about the decreasing prices of milk and dairy products after a stable year 2011. He does not foresee improvements on the market after the merger of Nordmilch eG and Humana eG into the new Deutschen Milch Kontor (DMK). According to the minister’s view, market structure legislation has to be adjusted to the level that milk producers and dairy industry can negotiate on an eye-to-eye level. The Polish Minister of Agriculture Dr. Marek Sawicki then held a presentation about the poor situation in Polish milk production. The varying amounts of direct payments within EU agriculture result in partially extensive distortion of competition.

Concentration in retail is seen as the major problem and a quick levelling is considered as being almost impossible to bring about. Mr. Sawicki expressed being in favour of keeping the milk quota until 2020 in order to gain time for finding solutions.

Kjartan Poulsen, milk producer in Denmark and Chairman of the Danish association Landsforeningen af Danske Mælkeproducenter clearly emphasised: “None of our producers could survive without subsidies.” According to Poulson, Denmark’s dairy farmers are heading on a dismal economic course – a capsizing of agricultural politics.

The BDM chairman believes that two crucial steps would improve the position of dairy farmers:

  • bringing forward the bundling of milk
  • establishing flexible quantities by the producers

Advocating these approaches would be worthwhile for dairy producers.

Peter Guhl, Chairman of MEG Milk Board closed the event by explaining how milk producers can gain more market prowess by bundling and by restructuring marketing to be better positioned against dairies in the future.

Milk producers have to be more aware of movements on the market in order to be more competitive.

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