Welsh Dairy Show preview

Shouting about Wales’ proud dairying tradition

Dairy farming seems to go crisis to crisis. Farmers Guardian asked the Welsh Government, a banker and the milk spokesmen from FUW and NFU Cymru for their industry overview.

By Alun Davies, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Agriculture

This year’s Welsh Dairy Show promises to be an interesting and exciting event for the whole of the dairy industry in Wales, with no doubt many quality animals and products on display.

Wales has a strong and proud tradition of dairy farming and it is only right we shout about it at every opportunity.

But dairy farming is not without its challenges and the Welsh Government is doing all it can to help address these issues.

With the environmental challenges which face us, not to mention the requirements placed upon us by CAP, changes to the industry’s way of working are inevitable.

The new Wales-based Glastir land management scheme and, in particular, the Agricultural Carbon Reduction Efficiency Scheme (ACRES) scheme can help farmers adapt to these changes.

The bureaucratic burden is another important factor and the ‘Working Smarter’ programme will identify ways in which we can reduce bureaucracy and free up farmers’ time to run their farms, while still ensuring they meet legal requirements.

Low milk prices

But without a doubt the biggest issue farmers raise is low milk prices, and while there is very little I can do to address this issue directly, there are elements of the EU’s dairy package which could help in future. There are also

other ways the Welsh Government can assist dairy farmers to run profitable businesses.

We have already invested more than £3m into finding ways to improve the supply chain so Welsh milk can be processed closer to home.

Plans for a new processing plant in West Wales are welcome and we are working with all interested parties to see these plans turn into a reality.

We have invested £5m in 20 dairy projects across Wales through processing and marketing grants to help farmers who want to add value to their core produce by creating high quality dairy products such as yoghurt, cheese, butter and ice cream.

We are producing some excellent dairy products in Wales, thanks to the hard work and dedication of farmers and processors.

From large organisations to small businesses run from farmhouse kitchens, Welsh companies are delivering products which are among the best in the world.

They make a big contribution to the rural economy, as well as helping to put our country on the map and encouraging tourists in search of excellent food to visit Wales.

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