European dairy farmers elect new EMB president

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

The new EMB executive committee (left to right): Sieta van Keimpema, Boris Gondouin, Kjartan Poulsen, Elmar Hannen and Guy Francq. Absent from photo: Roberto Cavaliere and Pat McCormack, who participated online. Pic: EMB
The new EMB executive committee (left to right): Sieta van Keimpema, Boris Gondouin, Kjartan Poulsen, Elmar Hannen and Guy Francq. Absent from photo: Roberto Cavaliere and Pat McCormack, who participated online. Pic: EMB

Related tags: EMB, Dairy

At its recent general assembly, the European Milk Board (EMB) elected current vice-president Sieta van Keimpema from the Netherlands as its new president.

Kjartan Poulsen from Denmark was chosen by the members for the post of vice president. Current executive committee members Boris Gondouin, from France, Pat McCormack, from Ireland, and Roberto Cavaliere, from Italy, saw their mandates renewed. The EMB also welcomed Elmar Hannen, from Germany, and Guy Francq, from Belgium, as new members of the executive committee.

Outgoing president, Erwin Schöpges, who wishes to focus on the development of Fair Milk in Belgium and some African countries, was given a warm send-off by his fellow dairy farmers.

They praised him for his political work and involvement in the organization of demonstrations, which have contributed to the growth of the EMB. The assembly also expressed its gratitude to Johannes Pfaller, from Germany, who stepped down from the executive committee after serving for two-and-a-half years, for his commitment to fight for fair trade relations and against the dumping of European surpluses in African markets.

Incoming president van Keimpema told EMB members at the assembly she believed representing the interests of European dairy farmers before the EU Institutions would continue to remain very important. 

“I would like to thank you for your vote of confidence,”​ she said.

“Advocating for a crisis-proof agricultural policy will be at the very top of the EMB agenda. The European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy also need to be considered from a clear producer perspective and the EMB will continue to engage actively with political decision-makers and provide constructive contributions.”

The EMB said that from the intense exchange on the Green Deal and the F2F Strategy at this assembly of EMB dairy farmers, it was clear cost-covering prices and a stable income for farmers must become a real priority for EU policy-makers within their environmental strategies.

“Economic and social sustainability must be given the same degree of importance as environmental sustainability,”​ van Keimpema said. 

“This means that we have to create a framework where the costs of climate and environmental requirements are covered by the price and are not simply passed on to be borne by producers.”

Hannen added, “We have to reach a stage where the price covers what society demands. That is the only way to ensure a future for dairy farmers.”

Poulsen said the European Commission’s goal of improving the position of producers must be fleshed out and made a reality with a concrete strategy.

“The EMB expects a clear indication of what steps are going to be taken to achieve this goal, so that it does not simply remain empty words.”

Francq said the Fair Milk project has already demonstrated in many European countries that cost-covering prices and environmental and climate protection can go hand in hand.

“Fair Milk also helps build bridges between producers and consumers,”​ he said.

Gondouin also believes Fair Milk still has growth potential.

“For us at the EMB, it is very important to take this project to other countries as well.  But if cost-covering prices are to become commonplace in the dairy sector as a whole, we need – as described – the appropriate political framework.”

Related topics: Markets, Fresh Milk, Pricing Pressures

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