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Minister Coughlan announces changes to Milk Quota Schemes for 2006

Restructuring Scheme 2006

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, today announced the main details of the 2006 Milk Quota Restructuring Scheme. The Scheme will be the second year of a two-year Restructuring Programme, during which the price of quota will be fixed at 12 cents/litre, down from 17.5 cents/litre in 2005.

Minister Coughlan said that young dairy farmers will continue to get priority access to up to 25% of the Co-op Restructuring pool. However, total allocations to young farmers will be limited to no more than three times the standard category 1 allocation in their co-op. This will ensure a fairer distribution of the restructuring pool among all dairy farmers. The Minister also announced that the minimum threshold of 50,000 litres for New Entrants to dairying would be removed.

The Minister also announced that dual quota holders would, in future, only be permitted to avail of an allocation from one co-op.

Temporary Leasing Scheme 2006/2007

The Minister also announced the Temporary Leasing Scheme for 2006/2007. There will be two full rounds with a two-tier price structure for leasing quota to/from each co-op's pool. The autumn round will have a closing date of 29 September 2006 with a fixed price of 3.5 cents/litre. The winter round will have a closing date of 12 January 2007 and a fixed price of 2.5 cent/litre. The Minister said that the aim of this two-tier scheme is to encourage the early release of surplus quota to allow dairy farmers plan their production more efficiently.

Family Transfers

In 2005 the Minister introduced a change to the Regulations that allowed the transfer of an entire quota to one family member, as defined, without the transfer of land, subject to certain conditions. From 2006 this will be changed allowing the quota to transfer to more than one qualifying relative, provided they are each already active dairy producers. In addition, the 48-kilometre restriction will be removed where it applies to such family transactions. The Minister said these changes would remove unnecessary impediments to fairness and equity of distribution within families.

Partnerships

The Minister also announced that income thresholds applying in Partnerships will be increased from the 2006/2007 quota year. In New Entrant/ Parent partnership the limits will increase from €24,000 to €30,000 for the new entrant and from €27,000 to €35,000 for the parent. In standard partnerships, the limit will increase from €27,000 to €35,000.

Full details of the schemes and the revised milk quota arrangements will be available later from the Department and from Co-ops/dairies. Concluding, Minister Coughlan said she would continue to give attention to the milk quota regime to ensure that it operates in a responsive manner in the best interests of the development of the dairy sector.

10 March, 2006

Date Released: 10 March 2006