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German dairy farmers ask for EU aid

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German dairy farmers ask for EU aid
17:43 CEST+02:00
German farmers have asked for European Union aid in the face of rising production costs at the German Farming Day - an agricultural gathering - in Berlin on Monday.

Dairy farmers in particular feel they are being "covered by an avalanche of costs," said Gerd Sonnleitner, head of German farmer's association DBV, who added that fertilizer and feed prices have increased by one-fifth in the last year.

DBV suggested that the EU Commission support dairy farmers and asked the German government to lower diesel prices for agriculture, but the EU rejected the request, saying more money is needed to create clean energy and fight climate change.

"I will fight this with all practical means," said German agriculture minister Horst Seehofer, saying he would advocate an EU aid contribution of €660 million to €700 million for 2009.

DBV's aid request is meant to soften the effects of the milk quota removal in 2015. A quota increase this spring is one reason farmers believe milk prices are sinking.

German dairy farmers staged a 10-day delivery strike in May to encourage higher milk prices to make up for increasing production costs. As a result, many grocery chains agreed to raise milk prices so that creameries could pay the farmers more for their milk.

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