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ICMSA Warns of Critical Decline in Dairy Farmer Incomes

Ireland 09.07.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has claimed that the average dairy farmer income is now “well below” the minimum legal hourly wage.
ICMSA Warns of Critical Decline in Dairy Farmer Incomes
The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has raised alarm over the significant decline in dairy farmer incomes, which they claim have now fallen "well below" the minimum legal hourly wage. ICMSA President Denis Drennan made these comments in anticipation of the 2023 Teagasc National Farm Survey, expected to reveal a substantial drop in dairy farm incomes.

According to Drennan, the average income for dairy farmers is projected to come in under €50,000 for 2023, a figure that, he asserts, does not fully capture the severity of the situation in 2024. Drennan highlighted the financial plight of dairy farmers by providing a detailed example: a farmer with 92 cows, each producing 6,000 litres of milk annually, would generate 552,000 litres of milk. With a milk price of 43c/L and a production cost of 37c/L, the net income per litre stands at 6c, totaling approximately €33,000. After accounting for typical loan repayments of €15,000, the farmer's net income falls to €18,000. This translates to an hourly wage of just €5.76, based on a 60-hour work week, which is significantly below the minimum wage.

Drennan criticized the government’s handling of the agricultural sector, accusing it of neglect and ineffective support. He called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, to convene an urgent all-sector farm summit. Drennan stressed the need for immediate action to address the "slow-motion collapse" of the dairy farming sector and emphasized the importance of generational renewal, warning that the current income levels are unsustainable for future farmers.

The ICMSA’s urgent appeal underscores the critical need for government intervention and strategic measures to ensure the sustainability and future of Ireland’s dairy farming industry.

 Photo ICMSA president Denis Drennan by agriland.ie
July 2024
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