Delegates at the annual Farmers’ Union of Wales Eve of Dairy Show Dinner (Monday October 24) heard how the dairy industry is facing some challenges that need to be overcome, including low farm gate prices, the threat posed by NVZs and bovine TB.
The event was held at the Ivy Bush Hotel, Carmarthen and welcomed over 100 guests to the HSBC sponsored dinner.
Speaking at the dinner, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The price our dairy farmers get paid for their produce is still too low, with many having to cope with almost a 50% reduction in their milk cheques.
“And of course we should note that the tools available in the Dairy Code of Practise in 2012 were not designed to deal with global issues such as Russian trade embargoes.
“Indeed, the Code can do little to better the prospects of producers who have been served notice and we continue to reiterate that smaller producers and those in remote areas are being left vulnerable during periods of oversupply. We must strive to remove volatility from the market.”
Mr Roberts further stressed that it is not just the price of milk or contracts that pose a risk to the viability of the dairy industry and that there are 2 other big issues at play – Nitrate Vulnerable Zones and Bovine TB – that will be around for some time to come.
“The proposed NVZ designations remain a major concern and we continue to stress the operational and financial impacts those designations would have upon farms that are within an NVZ area.
“Given such costs, there must be full justification for any proposed increases in designation, an appropriate transition period and support. I would therefore urge all of our members to make sure they work with their local county office and submit a response to the consultation,” said the Union President.
Referring to the recent announcement made by Welsh Government in regards to tackling bovine TB, Mr Roberts added: “We heard last week that the Welsh Government will consider a badger test-and-cull type approach to TB. It is as a small step in the right direction, but many farmers will be concerned at the implications of splitting Wales into TB zones.
“Targeting infected badgers would be a welcome move, but it is disappointing that it has taken so many years to move back towards common sense after the original comprehensive plan to tackle the disease in wildlife was abandoned by the previous Welsh Government.”
Mr Roberts told delegates that the FUW will now consult with its members on both the NVZ and bTB consultation and to ensure that we get a deal that suits the farmers of Wales in all aspects.