Outlook bleak as we see more milk price cut announcements, says NFU

The biggest milk co-operative in the UK, Arla, has today announced another cut to the price it pays its UK members by 0.80ppl taking it to 23.01ppl.

NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison said: “Dairy farmers across the UK are struggling right now and it’s not getting any easier. The market outlook for the rest of this year and into 2016 is not positive so we’re in for an extremely difficult autumn and winter. I’ve spoken to hundreds of dairy farmers at the Royal Welsh Show, Market Drayton and Bridgewater recently who are questioning their future in the industry. Their clear message is that we must remain united.

“But we know this isn’t a UK problem alone – dairy farmers across the world are suffering from milk prices far below the cost of production – we’ve seen protests in France and milk being thrown away in Canada and the US.

“Last week I met with the Farming Minister George Eustice to again reiterate just how bad it is at the moment and the potential fallout. We desperately need the Government’s help to ensure a fully functioning and fair dairy supply chain. Now is the time for action – just this week we’ve seen the French Government provide a list of support measures and financial backing to help their farmers through this difficult period

“We also continue to meet with the major retailers, banks, food service companies and processors to urge for a fair, sustainable and transparent supply chain. There’s so much more that can be done to promote high quality, traceable UK dairy products to help drive consumption.

“With the outlook bleak for the foreseeable future I’d call on fellow farmers to talk to their banks, feed merchants, suppliers and business consultants now, before things get far worse, and utilise the resources available at AHDB Dairy to help ride this storm out as best we can. Farmers need to speak to their milk buyers to ensure open and honest communication on the market and future prospects – rather than sit back and wait for another milk price announcement. We need the industry and AHDB to get out and promote British dairy products.

“There is no magic lever to pull that will make it all better. However, that doesn’t mean we should stop trying as organisations and as individuals. This is why the NFU is working in coalition with the FFA, TFA and others to help signpost help for the short term and find agreed solutions for the long term. We all want to be part of a growing successful dairy industry but the next 12 months is going to be incredibly tough. We urge farmers to face up to those difficult decisions and not wait in hope for things to improve.”

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