Nicholson to host dairy hearing

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Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson will host and chair a hearing in the European Parliament next week to consider the potential use of financial tools such as hedge funds to address price volatility in the dairy market.

The event, entitled; ‘Future-proofing the dairy sector – what do financial and risk tools mean for farmers?’ will feature contributions from a range of speakers, including; Dr Mike Johnston; chief executive of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, Sean Molly; Glanbia’s head of strategy, Tom Tynan; member of Commissioner Hogan’s cabinet, Professor Joost Pennings from Maastricht University, Mansel Raymond who chairs Copa’s Milk and Dairy Products Committee plus a number of MEPs from the Agriculture Committee.

Speaking ahead of the conferenceMr Nicholson (pictured) said: “The aim of this event is to debate the potential role financial instruments could play in addressing price volatility in the EU’s dairy sector.”

The formation of a new group which will focus on issues including the use of financial instruments was part of the agricultural aid package announced by the European Commission last month. The Commission is expected to announce the membership of this forum in the next few weeks.

Mr Nicholson continued: “Managing volatility is a huge challenge for the agricultural industry and financial instruments such as futures markets are already used by some of the EU’s competitors. It is in all our interests to fully explore ways of reducing the impact of volatility in the future.

“Next week’s conference features an impressive line-up of speakers representing all parts of the industry and I look forward to debating and considering ways of utilising financial instruments to manage volatility and ensure greater stability in the dairy supply chain.”