United front to tackle dairy's critical mass

INDUSTRY representatives from across Great Britain have met to discuss the critical situation for British dairy farmers.

The united message from all the organisations was that it is time for action.

The meeting was chaired by NFU dairy board chairman Gwyn Jones but included Farmers For Action, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland, Dairy Farmers of Scotland, Farmers Union of Wales, and the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.

After the meeting, Mr Jones said: “We are all united in our concern for the fate of British dairy farmers and we are all in agreement that action must be taken to avoid a real loss of critical mass.

"Since the NFU launched its Survival Plan for British Dairying in February prices have fallen further still and the situation has worsened considerably.

“The only way we will bring about meaningful change is by pulling together and focusing our efforts. We all have our own members, but at times like this we are all fighting for a common cause.”

FFA chairman David Handley said: “The meeting shows that a united front is being adopted by dairy farmer representatives against the unsustainable returns being paid to dairy farmers. It also sends a signal to the industry that we are not going to put up with it any longer.

“Processors and retailers have a crucial role to play in restoring farmer confidence, but farmers also have to take responsibility for their own destiny. By coming together as a group of organisations with farmers' best interests at heart we will be lobbying for ethical contracts and responsible behaviour from the supply chain.”

The meeting came as dairy farmers across were planning co-ordinated action across Europe.

Thousands of producers, members of the European Milk Board, will be demonstrating with their dairy cattle in over ten countries on April 29 to press for flexible supply control.

Even in non EMB-countries campaigns of actions are planned, says the Board.

EMB president Romuald Schaber is adamant that responsibility lies with the politicians: “They can and must create basic conditions that enable the supply of milk to be adapted to demand.”

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