Alfons Schwersmannn, farmer in Lüdinghausen, North Rhine-Westphalia
I’ve been a member of the dairy cooperative for 40 years, but I’ve never before received such a high milk price.

Alfons Schwersmannn, Landwirt in Lüdinghausen, Nordrhein-Westfalen

We farmers spent years looking enviously at dairies that paid a higher price than DMK. The company was in the lower midfield for a long time. That has 2022 changed. Less milk was being produced and that’d raising purchase prices at a time when more people were consuming dairy products than ever before. And while people did not feel so positive about us farmers in the past, I also get the feeling that it has improved a bit, given the crisis. We are happy about the milk price, but it is also important to pay our debts. Most of us have seen these grow over the course of the years of hardship due to drought, feed shortages and increasing regulations. No one knows how the political situation will develop. I very much hope that our dairy always have its power supply. These days, I can really see the importance of all DMK’s major investments in transforming the dairy. We are now benefiting from the strategy of moving towards more energy-efficient and more sustainable production methods. By relying more on renewable energy and saving power as much as possible at the plants, we will have a better chance of making up some of the shortfall of gas in the next few years. That is absolutely urgent as how else could our milk be processed into products? The outbreak of war in Ukraine is an economic – but above all a human – tragedy, that’s clear to my family and I when we watch the news each day. Back in 2014, when Russia illegally annexed Crimea and banned imports of dairy products, suddenly we no longer had access to the fourth-largest sales market. That was disastrous for us as dairies were sitting on milk volumes that were piling up all of a sudden. The milk price dropped below 30 cents. That left farmers struggling financially, fighting to get from one day to the next. Many gave up, because they were unable to keep farming under those circumstances. Now, my son has taken over our dairy farm and I hope he never sees milk prices fall so low, even if back then, there were fewer regulations! Amid all these difficulties, what keeps us going back to the barn every morning is the feeling that we have overcome crises in the past. You can not compare one crisis to another, but it shows that our farm has survived a series of ups and downs. My father built the dairy farm, then I took it over and now my son is in charge. That togetherness and cohesion has always given us strength. Alongside my children, I also have nieces, nephews and grandchildren. At Christmas, when the whole family of 25 gets together at the farm, I always realize what a gift that is, a source of power and energy that gives me strength.