Robert Sturdy, dairy subsidies and over production

Have you been following the latest news about thousands of protesting dairy farmers marching to Luxembourg where EU farm ministers were meeting?

Their concerns were based on the low price of milk, saying it costs more to produce than they can sell it for. Most of the EU’s member states have been pressing for financial aid after the global economic downturn reduced demand, and this has just been agreed.

However, MEP Robert Sturdy has vowed to challenge any attempts to bring back huge EUimage cash subsidies to the crisis hit dairy sector.

As the European Commission announced £255m in aid is to be given to European dairy farmers to help the sector cope with the recent slide in milk prices, Robert has warned that now is not the time for a return to the days of huge EU subsidies.

The EU dairy sector has already received large amounts of support from the European Commission who have offered national governments the option to pay farmers up to £13,800 under a “temporary crisis framework.”

But a majority of EU member states, led by France and Germany, want to see the reinstatement of subsidies to cope with the sector’s problems.

Mr Sturdy, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, said:

“We must be careful that the recent promises of support for EU dairy farmers do not lead us back to the bad old days of inefficient over-production at the expense of our region’s taxpayers and consumers.

“While I sympathise with the plight of dairy farmers, milk prices are showing signs of recovery and we might well be over the worst of the crisis.

“Europe’s dairy farmers should be preparing for a future quota free milk sector, not calling for short term fixes that will ultimately lead to more problems for them in the long term.

“I want to see a viable and competitive European dairy sector, one that can stand on its on two feet, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by a free global market.”


  1. I agree- supermarkets like Woolworths here drive the prices down, forcing the farmers into difficulty and, in the case of australia its becoming cheaper to source supply of foods from over seas.

    As my father said ” if a country cannot grow something, mine something, or make something- it will go broke”

    Have a look at Britain and America- manufacturing and agriculture on the decline.. and they are the hardest hit by this “global recession. It appears china and India and AUstralia are out od the woods…. But I see the signs of decline in Agriculture and Manufacturing here, saved only by the fact we are the worlds gravel pit….

    The EU MUST protect its farmers from the imported items…

  2. Pip, I would like a dairy farmer to comment too. They might blame supermarkets for forcing them to sell at unprofitable prices.

  3. Excellent post, Ellee.

    the trouble as I see it is the supermarkets. I think this ‘free global market’ isn’t what it might seem framed in just those words. I don’t really want to drink milk produced in germany whilst farmers here lose thier herds and go under as the supermarkets drive the prices down. I know of one farming family that had to reduce their herd, pay for slaughter and butchery, making lamb burgers, and sell them at fairs in order to feed their family as traditional farming was simply not paying the bills. What is it like for dairy farmers?

    I do hope a dairy farmer will comment.

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