The president of the state’s specialist dairy farmers’ organisation, the ICMSA, has said that the current period of falling milk price is inflicting a battering on Tipp’s economy to the extent that he estimates a total drop in spend of “well in excess of €70 million” in direct milk income for the county over the period from 2014 to 2016.
He estimated that the total dairy-derived spend in the the county will be down by at least €120m on 2014.
Mr Comer warned that an unwillingness on either the part of Government or the EU to adopt serious and meaningful measures to arrest the slide meant that there was no immediate prospect of the price turning around.
He said that ICMSA calculated that cost to Tipperary’s economy on the basis of all the milk produced by the county’s 2000-odd dairy farmers in 2014 and valuing it at an average price of 38.4 cent per litre and then calculating the same volume at a 2016 price of 24.0 cent per litre with the greater “dairy-derived spend” calculated on the basis of Prof Alan Mathews' recommended multiplying factor of 1.7.
Mr Comer said that while no-one imagined that international dairy markets could be turned around at the click of a finger, he was becoming increasingly alarmed by the unwillingness of the EU and Member State to accept that an immediate rise in Intervention Price to “at least” 28 cent per litre was immediately required in addition to a massive upgrading of the various storage options available.
“ICMSA has always urged politicians and policymakers to grasp the basic fact that where farm incomes take the kind of battering that we’re seeing just now then not alone does the local economy suffer through falling farm income but - based on the well-established economic principle of the multiplier effect - you see massive falls in the wider local economy as the farmers stop purchasing goods and services in their local communities,” said Mr Comer.