02 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


24 February 2015
Service Leader (Wind Farms)
Service Leader (Wind Farms). Monitoring of wind farm performance, local adjustment of availability calculations, and carrying...

26 February 2015
Assistant Head Teacher
Sparrow Farm Infant & Nursery School. Sparrow Farm Infant and Nursery School can offer you:. Sparrow Farm Infant and Nurs...

1 March 2015
General Assistant
GENERAL ASSISTANT Hanham, BRISTOL. We are looking for an enthusiastic individual who loves working in a child orientated envi...

22 February 2015
Technical Parts Apprentice
Agriculture, Ground Care, ATV’s and Construction - MST are renowned for genuine service and expert advice. You will provide t...

26 February 2015
Mechanical Maintenance Technician
My client is a market-leading company that supply into various industries including, steel, construction and agriculture. Mec...




Top stories you may have missed
2 February 2015 | Arable
Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Membership of the EU is damaging the British farming industry, according to...


29 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

BASIS has launched an accreditation for pilots of Unmanned Aerial Systems (...


23 January 2015 | Arable
UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have theoretical potential to more than double over the nex...


23 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Britain’s farmers flocked to Peterborough for the first day of LAMMA’15 to ...


22 January 2015 | Cattle
Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

The crisis in the dairy industry is not the fault of supermarkets, accordin...


16 January 2015 | CLA
Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer visited three rural businesses in Cheshi...


16 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

Spearheading the John Deere range of mid-size tractors from Mannheim, the n...


14 January 2015 | Animal Health
Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Regular testing for bovine TB could significantly reduce the number of infe...


12 January 2015 | News
Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Single-issue policy-making threatens to hamper, not help, the progress of U...


8 January 2015 | Cattle
2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2014 has been a “rocky old year” for the beef industry but better prices ar...