Dairy farms under threat as milk prices slide

Dairy farms under threat as milk prices slide
Photo: DPA
The vice president of the National Union of Farmers (DBV), Udo Folgart, warned on Sunday that a fifth of all diary farms in Germany are threatened with closure on account of tumbling milk prices.

“We reckon that in 20 percent of cases, we have acute payment difficulties,” Folgart told news agency DPA. “Even the most well-secured dairy farms, whether big or small, cannot survive if they receive just €0.20 or below €0.20 per litre,” he said.

Many farmers across Europe are currently protesting the falling cost of food, and Germany’s 90,000 dairy farmers are seen as particularly vulnerable to the price cuts. Berlin-based daily TAZ reported earlier this week that dairy farmers need at least €0.40 to make the business profitable.

Around 6,000 dairy farmers plan to protest the plight of farmers and demand state aid on Monday with a traditional procession on tractors to the Victory Column in Berlin. German Federal Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner is expected to take part in the protest.

Head of the DBV Gerd Sonnleitner has called for drastic cuts in agricultural diesel taxes.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who visited a dairy farm earlier this week in Lower Saxony, is in favour of the tax cut.

But her coalition partners, the Social Democrats, are against the move in light of the deep recession. The German cabinet has already agreed on exempting €350 per year on diesel taxes. But the DBV says the cuts aren’t enough.

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