Farmers’ milk price crisis ‘as bad as there has been’

Jonathan Moore said farmers were only concerned with short-term survival
Jonathan Moore said farmers were only concerned with short-term survival

Lifelong farmer Jonathan Moore has described the current dairy crisis as unprecedented.

The 44-year-old father-of-two runs a farm on the outskirts of Larne, Co Antrim, with his father and brother and has a herd of around 200 dairy cattle.

Mr Moore said: “It definitely does not compare to anything that has happened before.

“The difficulty is the length of time. We have had falling [milk] prices for at least 12 months now.

“Prices are not covering costs and they are still coming down. It is the cumulative effect.

“Everybody has the capability to withstand a price drop for a certain amount of time but all that has been taken out of the system and there are very few, if any, dairy farmers who are not losing money now.

“And there is no sign of any let-up – this is as bad a crisis as there has been, certainly in my time.

“Eighteen months ago we were getting 33 p ence a litre for milk. Now it is down to 19 pence a litre. That is a 40 per cent drop.

“There is no unnecessary outlay happening. Everybody is concerned about short-term survival – that’s the overriding priority now.

“The Agriculture Minister must ask for a meeting with the EU Commissioner (Phil Hogan). We also need the intervention price to be reviewed and raised.

“Dairy farmers are beyond being anxious. They are getting angry now that Commissioner Hogan refuses to accept there is a crisis.

“It is important for the survival of the dairy industry that he makes a move. We cannot stand another continued lowering of prices.

“Now is the time for action.”