Friday, May 27, 2005

Google Search: dairy prices

o New Zealand: "Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd., the world's biggest dairy exporter, said it may pay its farmers 14 percent less for their milk next year as the rising New Zealand dollar erodes the value of its export sales.... World dairy prices have risen 50 percent in the past two years according to a U.S. dollar index of New Zealand dairy prices maintained by Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Much of that benefit has been eroded by the rising New Zealand dollar, which gained 22 percent against the U.S. dollar the same period. World dairy prices and demand remain at historically high levels, Van der Heyden said."

o UK: "FARMERS brought a Middlewich supermarket distribution centre to a standstill over what they see as a raw deal on milk profits. Members of the Farmers For Action pressure group set up a blockade of 83 tractors, stopping any vehicles entering or leaving the Tesco depot on Pochin Way until their position was recognised."

o California: "The federal government's stockpile of powdered milk for free distribution to poor and elderly people is expected to dry up in September. Higher milk prices are to blame: When prices are high, the government buys less dairy surplus — and that means less nonfat powdered milk goes into the government's giveaway program."

o Maine: On Monday, RetireSafe wrote to each Maine legislator saying the milk fee bill must be stopped. "It will raise milk prices, discourage milk consumption and severely harm Maine seniors and families," the letter stated.

Rep. John Piotti, D-Unity, said the bill is being fine-tuned before it goes to the House and Senate for votes. Piotti is co-chairman of the Legislature's Agriculture Committee, which unanimously supported the bill. Piotti said that the bill provides Maine farmers with a safety net against fluctuating milk prices and will help maintain the state's dairy industry.

He said he had no indication from processors, wholesalers or retailers that the fee would cause prices to rise. "It is a bill that Maine's dairy farmers desperately need and actively support," he said. "When the milk handling fee existed before, it had no negative impact on Maine consumers. We do not expect negative benefits now."

Comment: B.S. appears to be in ample supply in Maine.

o Ireland: " "Messrs Mildon and Rasmussen clearly confirmed to us that the Commission had no agenda to reduce market prices down to Intervention equivalent, and that there is, therefore, no justification for producer milk prices to be reduced on par with Intervention prices." ... Michael Murphy added: "Mr Mildon further confirmed that, were US casein prices and/or the US Dollar to weaken, the EU Commission's casein aid calculation formula would allow for the aid to increase. He also confirmed there is no plan or proposal within the Commission to abolish the casein aid. "He stated, however, that the new formula, which factors in US casein prices and the US$ exchange rate, could reduce the aid further if casein returns were to continue increasing due to the ongoing market price rises and exchange rate improvements. "

o Italy: "With a favourable opinion from the proposer and the government, the Senate has approved this morning the amendment of the Commission regarding Bill no.63/2005 on regional growth, regarding the abrogation of paragraph 551 of the 2005 Finance Act , which had transferred the responsibility of the administrative judges to the ordinary judges, bringing the fragmentation by the judges of the controversies over milk quotas between various courts. With this abrogation things return to their previous situation, allowing the reattribution of the jurisdiction on the subject to the regional judges responsible. "We have thus respected the undertaking taken with all farmers organisations to abrogate paragraph 551." "In these years indeed - added Agriculture Minister, Alemanno - the politically motivated use of resources has allowed for the accumulation of fines that has led Italy to pay the EU an average of 200 million euro a year." "Thanks to law 119 of 2003 this situation of failure to apply community rules has been resolved after 20 years." "Today - Alemanno concluded - AGEA will be able to continue its work with reference to certain norms, restoring the legality in more than 95 pct of Italian farmers are already situated." "

EVIDENTLY, the dairy business is quite complicated and needs lots government regulators to keep it from spiraling out of control. Alert those who believe in the invisible hand. Milking requires two hands, neither of which can be invisible. Probably, this is all due to globalisation, because we never had these problems with milk before. Clearly, we need a strong EU if we are to be able to fight economic superpowers like New Zealand.


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