‘German farmers take crisis in their stride,’ noted Gerd Sonnleitner, chairman of the German Association of Farmers DBV, in his New Year address. ‘Other sectors of the economy are now suddenly being faced with price fluctuations. But for farmers and horticulturalists, price swings are par for the course and they have always taken account of them in their business operations.’
German prices for farm milk rose sharply in the second half of 2007 and spring 2008. This was followed by a substantial decline. On balance, though, 2007/2008 was a good year for German dairy farmers. ‘Dairy farmers in Schleswig-Holstein earned EUR 75,100 on average.’ In the southern states (Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria), incomes were significantly lower because dairy farms there are generally much smaller. Sonnlieter was less optimistic about the current quotum year 2008/2009. Prices for agricultural produce are falling, and this will reduce incomes for farmers and market gardeners.