NFU fights to secure European backing for UK dairy industry but more to do

NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison, working with European farmer colleagues, has convinced the European Commission to include the UK’s cheese sector in new private storage packages and has welcomed an extension of European promotional budgets for dairy products.

Speaking after the NFU’s national dairy board meeting, Mr Harrison said it was vital he, and his colleagues at farming union Copa Cogeca, were given the opportunity to raise concerns over recent market volatility in the global dairy market, and took the opportunity to highlight ongoing work by the NFU to minimise the impacts of recent farm gate price cuts.

“The NFU and Copa lobbied hard for cheese, not limited to protected geographical designations, to be included in the European Commission private storage aid package,” said Mr Harrison following yesterday’s meeting.

“I am pleased that we have been successful, which we hope will restore some confidence to processors, with the option to store, rather than having to sell cheese, powdered milk and butter into distressed markets in the short term. However we do recognise that placing these products into storage presents potential future problems when they do inevitably hit the market.

“The NFU has been calling on the Commission and Defra to explore viable options, including the promotion of European and British dairy products in export and domestic markets, to soften the impact of releasing stored dairy products.

“News that the Commission have now extended European promotional budgets for dairy products has been welcomed by the NFU.”

But he added that there was more work to be done to secure the short and long-term future of the dairy industry in this country.

“While increases in global production, falling global commodity prices and the situation in Russia are beyond the control of the NFU, we will be working tirelessly in Brussels and Westminster to minimise their impacts on British dairy farmers’ businesses. We will continue to work with DairyCo and other stakeholders to get relevant and timely market information to farmers. It is vital that we explore all avenues at our disposal at such a crucial time for our industry.”

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