Support vital for UK dairy farmers, NFU warns

Support for British dairy farmers from public, processors, retailers and government is vital after farmgate milk prices have plummeted following the trend on world markets, said the NFU today.

Ongoing global market volatility has seen a 50 per cent reduction in prices in recent months, resulting in a farmgate price drop for dairy farmers of between 20-30 per cent. NFU President Meurig Raymond said the current times were ‘extremely worrying’ for farmers and called on all areas of the supply chain to ensure the pain being felt was minimal and short-term.

“As a dairy farmer myself I know what farmers up and down the country are going through. These are extremely turbulent times. That is why it is absolutely vital that everyone in the dairy supply chain shows commitment at this time. Milk processors, retailers and dairy farmers must work together to minimise the impact of the current price falls on dairy farmers and look to the future by opening up new markets for milk and creating new products.

“In 2012 the UK milk price languished at the bottom of the EU league tables while world prices continued to rise, which caused a major problem for British dairy farmers. The market then was completely dysfunctional. That is why the NFU led the way with SOSDairy holding peaceful protests, and taking that campaign to retailers and processors. We engaged directly with the public and their support continues to stand us in good stead today. This work led to the coalition that worked with government to form the Voluntary Code, giving much confidence back to our farmers.

“Two years on farmers are rightly angry and frustrated about their current situation although we’re not bottom of the EU league tables, the drop in UK milk prices is putting major pressure on our dairy farmers. The NFU continues to hold regular meetings with all the main retailers and processors to hold them to account, ensuring any price rises go back to farmers and any prices falls aren’t used as an excuse for unfair behaviour. We continue to lobby Government at the highest level on issues that impact on our members, such as CAP and TB, and we remain committed to continue the work we started with the voluntary code, implementing next steps. Fighting for functioning markets and fairer contracts is ultimately the best way to achieve farm gate milk prices that fairly reflect the value of milk.

“However it is absolutely vital that retailers and processors live up to their visible commitments and back British dairy farming to ensure we have a sustainable dairy industry in the future.

“We urge the public to also back British farming by buying British milk and dairy products that carry the Red Tractor logo. British dairy farmers know and appreciate that ongoing consumer support, so to them I say, thank you.”


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