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Milk Quotas - An Overview

The Milk Quota Regulations (SI 227/2008) provide for the payment of a levy, known as the "super levy", on milk deliveries in excess of Ireland's annual national quota. The liability of individual producers who have exceeded their quota, which is expressed in terms of volume and fat content, is established after the reallocation of unused quota.

The following quota allocation schemes are operated in accordance with rules set down by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food:

Milk Quota Trading Scheme - operated in advance of the relevant milk quota year.
The Milk Quota Trading Scheme is the principal means by which additional milk quota is acquired by producers. The scheme is operated by the Department but is run on a Co-op area basis. It is comprised of a priority pool and a market exchange. Under the scheme, producers are afforded the opportunity to sell and buy quota. A maximum of 30% of the quota offered for sale in a given Co-op area is made available to priority category producers at a price set by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The remainder is traded on the market exchange at a Market Clearing Price, which is calculated on the basis of the volumes and prices specified by buyers and sellers.

Temporary Leasing Scheme - operated during the milk quota year.
Under the Temporary Leasing Scheme producers can offer to lease the part of their quota which they consider they will not use during the current milk quota year into their co-operative's/dairy's pool. A person may lease more than 80% of his/her quota into the pool only when he/she has been granted permission to do so by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food due to the exceptional circumstances of his/her case. Active producers who require additional quota for that year can apply to temporarily lease quota from the pool. The period of lease expires in each case on 31 March, i.e. the end of the milk quota year.

Reallocation of Unused Quota - administered after the end of the milk quota year.
In the event of an excess of production over quota at national level, unused quota is reallocated to eligible over-quota producers. This system is known as "flexi-milk".

In addition, a scheme for the allocation of additional milk quota from the National Reserve is operated by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Applications on the grounds of Hardship and Animal Disease are assessed by the Milk Quota Appeals Tribunal, which makes recommendations to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The detailed criteria for the operation of these schemes are determined by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and are announced in the national media.

Details of the arrangements are also available to producers at their co-operatives/dairies, on request from Meat and Milk Policy Division, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 Tel: 01 6072857 or on the Department's website www.agriculture.gov.ie .