28 March 2015 | Online since 2003



Dairy farming on 'knife-edge' as farmers meet MP


Dairy farmers from Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire expressed their concerns for the future of the dairy industry as they met with Simon Hart, MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.

"Dairy farming in West Wales is on a precarious knife-edge and we’re facing a real fight for survival in the face of falling prices for our milk coupled with rising input costs and continuing poor weather conditions that has led to poor quality forage harvest" said dairy farmer and NFU County Chairman Gareth Richards.

"This combination of factors has left many dairy farmers in the area questioning whether we can afford to continue milking cows into this winter."

Members of the dairy coalition pledged to keep pressure on retailers who were not paying dairy farmers a "fair price", they announced recently.

Farmers fear that price cuts will force them out of business and drastically reduce the dairy industry in the UK.

“The huge gathering of dairy farmers at the recent Dairy Summit in Westminster sent out a strong message to milk processors, retailers and to both UK and Welsh Government of the desperate need for dairy farmers to receive a fair and sustainable return from the marketplace for producing milk" Richards continued.

"The pressure that’s been applied on retailers and processors by members of the dairy coalition has led to the reversal of the proposed price cuts from August 1, however the next step has to be the return of money lost to dairy farmers from the previous price cuts which were imposed on us back in June."

Pembrokeshire NFU Cymru County Milk Chairman William Lawrence said, “I’m proud of the unity that dairy farmers have shown in working together to seek to strengthen our position within the supply chain but there is still much work to be done."

NFU and the dairy processors organisation Dairy UK agreed to heads of terms for a Dairy Industry code of best practice on contractual relations during today’s meeting at the NFU Cymru Headquarters, Builth Wells. The heads of terms establish a number of minimum requirements and new provisions for dairy contracts between farmers and milk buyers.

The code stipulates that dairy farmers must receive at least 30 days’ notice of a price change and retrospective price adjustments are no longer acceptable.

“I’m heartened that there has been some real progress made in recent weeks towards bringing the Voluntary Code of Practice on milk contracts to fruition as we desperately need a mechanism in place to ensure some fairness in the dairy supply chain" continued Lawrence.

"However, we have impressed upon Simon Hart that if the Voluntary Code of Practice fails to bring some balance to the contractual relationship between dairy farmers and milk buyers, then we will not shy away from calling for the introduction of government regulation to bring some much needed fairness and transparency into the dairy supply chain.”

The code also puts in place conditions that must be met, where a purchaser wishes to use their discretion to set farm gate milk prices, these include a commitment to engage with farmers and their representatives, a commitment to maintain prices within mutually agreed parameters and where a farmer disagrees with a price change, the right of the producer to exit the contract with three months’ notice.

Further conditions include the ability of farmers to supply more than one processor, where their primary milk buyer seeks to cap their production and the right to automatic contractual release for producers from insolvent purchasers.

The concerns of local farmers about the impact of Bovine TB on both the dairy and beef sectors in West Wales also figured prominently in the discussions with Simon Hart.

“Bovine TB is crippling our industry and farmers who are placed under TB movement restrictions are suffering badly on both an economic and personal level" said Pembrokeshire NFU County Chairman Andrew Lewis.

"A number of local dairy farmers at this meeting have outlined how TB is affecting them and how their milk production has suffered following the removal of large numbers of productive dairy cows from their herds. We feel strongly that a full scale review of cattle control measures is urgently needed to ensure a more proportionate balance between reducing the possible risk of disease spread and our ability to operate our farming businesses.”

Download



Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


16 March 2015
Experienced Administrator in Estate Agency
Our client, a successful and well respected estate, lettings and rural agent currently have a vacancy for an experienced admi...

24 March 2015
Commercial / Agriculture Property Solicitor
Currently doing a mix of commercial and agriculture property work but want to focus on agriculture work? Not been given enoug...

10 March 2015
Scientific lab sales - Northern England
This role is to increase sales of a wide portfolio of laboratory products to a variety of customers including petro-chemical,...

11 March 2015
Stable Hand
Experienced horseperson, Stable + manual duties, Farm cover, holidays etc. Own transport is essential due to location....

17 March 2015
Waiting Staff
Waiting Staff required for an extremely popular and very busy award winning Farm Shop on the edge of South Cave, East Yorkshi...




Top stories you may have missed
23 March 2015 | Cattle

UK butchers face difficulties to recruit...

Butchers in the UK are losing a generation through lack of training opportu...


20 March 2015 | Arable

Dust - the secret fertiliser?

NASA research has revealed how dust blown from the Sahara desert helps supp...


19 March 2015 | Arable

The Budget 2015: A Farmer's Budget?

“In the run up to the Budget 2015 most commentators were predicting that th...


17 March 2015 | News

UK's first floating solar power system l...

The UK’s first fully operational floating solar panel system has been unvei...


13 March 2015 | Animal Health

Labour and Conservatives clash over badg...

Axing the badger cull in England and Wales will save more than £120 million...


12 March 2015 | News

Solar could be cheapest energy source by...

By 2025, solar power could become one of the cheapest forms of energy in ma...


11 March 2015 | Finance

English buyers turn their attention to S...

Demand for Scottish farm land remains strong and continues to be better val...


9 March 2015 | Cattle

2020 vision for the Welsh red meat indus...

The Welsh red meat industry should aim to increase sales by at least 34 per...


6 March 2015 | News

MP raises egg industry concerns on trans...

Fears about the impact that a proposed transatlantic trade agreement could ...


Stay safe and legal when flying drones

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Aircraft Systems - or dron...