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Smith says new Regulations match quota regime with modern farming realities

New Milk Quota Regulations signed into law

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith T.D., has announced the introduction of the new European Communities (Milk Quota) Regulations 2008. S.I. no 227 of 2008 revokes the current national regulations governing the super levy/milk quota regime - the European Communities (Milk Quota) Regulations, 2000, as amended - and replaces them with new consolidated regulations with effect from 1 April 2008.

The Minister emphasised that the new regulations were the product of an extensive review of legislation on milk quotas, and that the principle of simplification, in particular, informed his Department's approach to the review.

"The clear focus of the review of the milk quota regulations has been on the need to bring legislation in this area up to date at a time of great change in the dairy sector. As market conditions change and the abolition of quotas draws nearer, it is now time to make the functioning of the quota regime more flexible and, in particular, to remove obstacles to consolidation".

The Minister confirmed that the new regulations give effect to the changes previously announced in the areas of quota transfers and milk production partnerships. These include, in the case of transfers, greater flexibility in the consolidation of holdings and the transfer of quota within families, a broadening of the definition of qualified relatives to include relations of spouses, removal of the restriction on the sale of land and quota out of disadvantaged areas and the facilitation of quota leases to companies. As regards milk production partnerships, the new regulations remove restrictive criteria such as distance between holdings, age limits and off-farm income thresholds, and facilitate the participation of non-dairy farmers and farm managers in partnership arrangements.

The Minister pointed out that the new regulations also simplify - and in some cases remove - notification and application procedures for producers. In addition, they remove restrictions placed on producers as a result of their participation in restructuring schemes up to 2006. Those wishing to sell quota with land may now include quota purchased under a restructuring scheme, while those who had disposed of quota under previous restructuring schemes will not now be excluded from quota trading and temporary leasing schemes.

Concluding, the Minister said: "I want to take this opportunity to thank the farming organisations and ICOS for their constructive input to the review of milk quota legislation, and I look forward to their feedback on the implementation of the new regulations in the coming months".

Date Released: 09 July 2008