Blog: Dean BestThe exciting life of a food journalist

Dean Best | 20 March 2009

I was just chatting with Jackie Cahill, president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), about what he sees as the failings of Brussels’ dairy policy.

Dairy farmers in Europe (and, indeed, the rest of the world) have been having a very hard time of late. In fact, this could be quite the understatement. They have found themselves trapped between the falling price of raw milk and the rising cost of producing it. And now that the banks have started calling in loans, farmers across the EU are finding themselves well and truly squeezed.

You don’t have to be a business whiz to see that this is not a sustainable situation and it now looks quite likely that some farmers will go – are going – out of business.

There are various opinions across the industry as to how this situation came about and what can be done to secure the future of our milk supply. For the Irish farmers represented by the ICMSA, the European Commission's “cack-handed mismanagement” is one of the key problems undermining the viability of the industry.

Yesterday (19 March), the ICMSA staged a protest at the Commission's offices in Dawson Street, Ireland. Their aim – to draw attention to the issues facing the dairy industry ahead of a meeting between the Commission and the Farm Council, which will place next Monday in Brussels.

Just as Mr Cahill was expounding upon the shortcomings of policy handed down from Brussels, he was interrupted by this almighty “MOOO” as a cow went berserk in the background.

“Got to go – I’ll call back in five minutes,” he exclaimed and promptly hung up the phone. 

I'm still waiting...

The exciting life of a food journalist - or perhaps more accurately - the exciting life of a dairy farmer.

Katy Humphries, deputy editor


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