BLOG - A Very Challenging Year for EU Livestock Farmers

It has been an extraordinarily challenging year for our customers. It is no secret that the economic squeeze is also felt by the feed industry, being the main supplier. Prices of pigmeat suffered due to oversupply caused by the continued Russian political embargo, while dairy farmers were faced with an additional economic dimension due to the lifting of the milk quotas.

FEFAC expresses its solidarity to all livestock farmers who are being pushed to the edge in this crisis. On numerous occasions we have called on the Commission to take up its responsibility to remove non-tariff trade barriers that jeopardize access to competitively-priced feed supplies. It should be a political priority to alleviate pressure on the already troubled livestock farmers. Unfortunately, we have witnessed political uncertainties challenge the very foundation of the internal market.

Despite the European Parliament rejection, the Commission has kept the “opt-out” proposal for EU approved GMO food and feed events on the table, meaning disruption of the common market is still a potential outcome. FEFAC, COCERAL & FEDIOL estimated that a political conclusion on the file could lead to a 10% increase in feed costs for EU livestock farmers in opt-out countries where GMO soy would need to be replaced with non-GMO soy. We have repeatedly stated that there is no need for this proposal as the feed industry already provides solutions to fulfil the demand for non-GMO feed through segregated supply chains. Next to that, the Commission continued to delay decisions on GMO food & feed import approvals, even though the EU Ombudsman in January 2016 judged that the Commission has been committing unjustified maladministration by not complying with the legal timescale requirements.

It is of crucial importance that the EU feed & livestock sector remains competitive and continues to have access to global feed supplies to maintain market predictability as the basis for our livestock farmers so they can capture their fair share in very dynamic global markets for animal products. FEFAC members will continue to fulfil their main mission as a reliable, knowledge-driven partner to the livestock industry, for example by providing solutions to societal issues such as climate change and antimicrobial resistance.


Ruud Tijssens is President of FEFAC

This text appeared as the introduction to the FEFAC Annual Report 2015-2016, published on 18 July 2016. The Annual Report 2015-2016 includes an explanation of the FEFAC 2030 Vision of the EU feed industry, which aims to ensure a profitable future for the EU livestock sector based on targeted innovation in feed safety management, animal nutrition and sustainability.