what do producers expect from the Minister of Agriculture’s visit to Épinal (Vosges)?

Marc Fesneau, Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, will be in Epinal on Thursday, December 8, 2022, where the Assiss du lait is currently being held. A visit where farmers expect hearings and political action.

Cyrille Plongue from the Minister of Agriculture is waitingit considers claims. Let him listen to us and understand the reality on the ground. The difference between the price of a liter of milk bought from farmers and the price consumers pay in stores is always the same: distributors. For example, Leclerc has increased the price of milk on its shelves, but because it has a contract with us for the year, it does not buy it from us at a higher price, by agreement and with a fixed purchase price. They generate huge margins. It’s not a battle for purchasing power, as its founder says Eduard Leclerc”Condemns the milk producer at Gye in Meurthe-et-Moselle.

Like many French manufacturers, it is a member of the Sodiaal group, whose main brands are Yoplait, Candia and Entremont. This dairy cooperative also brings together companies specialized in the processing of dairy products, such as Monts et Terroirs or RichesMonts cheeses. In 2017, it was the third French dairy group after Danone and Lactalis, the other main industrial groups in the sector.

The price of milk in France depends on international markets for raw materials (such as butter or milk powder needed to process dairy products such as cheese) as well as on negotiations between these industry groups and large retailers.

In order to pass on the increase in production costs due to the war in Ukraine, the prices of milk on the supermarket shelves were set during the last negotiations with the supermarkets. But for Cyrille Plongué, these discussions are not adapted to current and changing inflation: “These are one-sided discussions. The law was poorly drafted because the last negotiations took place in the spring, before the price of milk and raw materials rose. It is stuck for 1 year and taken from our throat. We are experiencing head-on inflation. We are currently experiencing price increases of up to 80%, depending on the products, without affecting our selling price.” the farmer explains Meurthe-et-Moselle.

Prize, news of war

Cyrille Plongué, author of L’Éleveur laitier, publishes an article there every quarter demanding that his cooperative pay its producers better: We are about 14,000 manufacturers at Sodiaal. We are the country with the lowest wages in the whole country, in all of Europe.”, he regrets. “Our Belgian colleagues, who are 150 km away, receive 620 euros for 1000 liters of milk sold. “We are paid 420 euros for 1,000 liters of cow’s milk this month, which means 42 cents per liter against 480 euros at Lactalis.”

Asks the Minister to implement the Eghalim 2 law.PText announced on October 18 must guarantee”better consideration of farmers’ production costs“, “for better pay”.He is never respected. It is illogical that we owe it to the farmers to act as guardians. This is not our business. We are milk and meat producers”Sodiaal criticizes the member.

The historic drought that hit Europe this summer reduced the production of grass to feed dairy cows and increased the price of animal feed by about 25%, further strangling stud farms. “If we refuse to pay for milk at the cost of its production, we will be forced to import it tomorrowAt the end of August, he was afraid of the Ministry of Agriculture. In this regard, the Agricultural Unions and the National Federation of Milk Producers (FNPL) are asking for a reevaluation of the liter sold at the counters with a symbolic price of one euro.

Financial policy, the environment, climate change… The Assizes du lait is an opportunity to discuss several issues such as the renewal of generations: “The profession is no longer attractive. I think we will have a big problem in the next 10 years, because pensions cannot be changed.”Cyrille Plongue says.

“The problem is also, and above all, moral when you don’t know what the future holds.”, says Cyrille Plongue. “Without knowing what the price of a liter of milk will be tomorrow, I have to invest in the construction of a building for storing cereals and fodder. I would have to sell 1000 liters of my milk between 450-480 euros so that I could pay a loan of up to 100 thousand euros. We’re not there yet, and no one can tell me we’ll be there tomorrow. In any case, I will still have to return the money.”

To whom Epinal (Vosges) should discuss this Thursday, December 8, 2022, with the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Marc Fesneau, the President of the FNPL, Thierry Roquefeuil, and the President of the FNSEA (National Agricultural Federation of Farmers Unions). Christine Lambert, during a round table on “French dairy production that is endangered and still recognized as the most sustainable in the world!.

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