Farming unions discuss challenge to milk industry

DOMESTIC and international opportunities for the UK dairy industry came under the spotlight in a two-day conference.

DOMESTIC and international opportunities for the UK dairy industry came under the spotlight in a two-day conference.

Delegates from the UK farming unions, NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland and the Ulster Farmers’ Union, also discussed the continuing challenges facing the sector.

They agreed to continue talking to milk buyers and putting on pressure for commitment to press for the Voluntary Code of Best Practice for Dairy Contracts in Great Britain.

A separate code has been agreed in Northern Ireland.

NFU Cymru milk board chairman Aled Jones, said: “Dairy farming is at the heart of the Welsh rural economy, contributing 30% of Welsh agricultural output.

“Of the 1.5 billion litres of milk produced in Wales, 870 million litres is processed here by more than 40 dairy processors and 90% of this processing capacity is into cheese.

“It is vital that our processors concentrate on adding value to milk and that this value is passed back to farmers to invest in the foundation of this great supply chain.”

He told the meeting, held in Cardiff, that the industry had seen the benefits of working together through the dairy coalition and he urged individual farmers to look at further collaboration.

Rob Harrison, NFU dairy board vice chairman, said: “It is clear to me that now is the time for dairy farmers to capitalise on market opportunities.

“Supplies are tight, demand is high. With the Voluntary Code of Best Practice for Dairy Contracts being implemented farmers should expect the market to deliver on a sustainable price for their milk; one that they so desperately need.”

 

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