At the Farm Council on November 16, Ministers held their first formal discussion on the market situation since the Commission tabled its €500 million aid package in September, to help mainly dairy farmers hit by a drop in prices. They agreed that the dairy situation had improved slightly, but said it was premature to talk about a steady recovery. On pigmeat, EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan pledged to open private storage aid in early 2016 to help producers, but resisted calls to support the sugar sector. Simplifying complex farm policy rules and the revision of school food schemes were also on the agenda. Key dates to put in the diary in the run-up to Christmas include the DG AGRI Outlook Conference on December 1-2 and the last Agriculture Council of the year on December 14. AGRA FACTS journalists Rose O’Donovan and Ed Bray have the story.