21 Sep 2015

Dairy prices a 'hot topic' at world summit

6:31 am on 21 September 2015

Farming leaders from around the globe are gathering in Europe this week for the World Dairy Summit.

Federated Farmers vice president Andrew Hoggard

Federated Farmers vice president Andrew Hoggard Photo: Radio NZ / Jemma Brackebush

The week-long summit gets under way today in the Baltic State of Lithuania.

Federated Farmers dairy chairperson Andrew Hoggard is attending and said the main focus would be on science, the environment, animal welfare and international trade.

A hot topic will be how farmers around the world react to low dairy prices, he said.

"Here in New Zealand it's a kind of an acceptance of the market and it sucks, but we've just got to tough it on through and do the best we can and try and support each other," he said.

"Whereas overseas they think running their tractors through the middle of town and throwing produce and excrement over everything is the way to solve their problems. So I think it will be quite interesting talking to my fellow farmers from around the world as to how they see things."

If subsidies and government interventions were discussed, Mr Hoggard said he would voice his opinion they should be axed.

"These subsidies and government interventions in the market are what causes this volatility.

"We've got such a small pool of freely traded dairy produce around the world, or markets that are open, so when you get a slight little shock in any of those markets or a bit of oversupply...that's what raises this volatility up and down, so the more free trade and open barriers and less government intervention that we get in dairy industries worldwide, in my view will actually result in a more stable international dairy market."

Mr Hoggard would also be touring dairy farms in Lithuania.

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