Farming leader hopes dairy market is stabilising

L-R:  NFU group secretary Robert Nobles, NFU president Meurig Raymond, Longley Farm's Jimmy Dickinson, NFU regional dairy board chairman David Shaw.

L-R: NFU group secretary Robert Nobles, NFU president Meurig Raymond, Longley Farm's Jimmy Dickinson, NFU regional dairy board chairman David Shaw.

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National Farmers’ Union president Meurig Raymond told The Yorkshire Post how the region’s dairy farmers were worried about the future and called on retailers, processors and government to do more to alleviate the strain caused by rock bottom milk prices, following a visit to the region yesterday.

A dairy farmer himself, the union boss said his Pembrokeshire business had lost out on £250,000 as a result of a milk price reduction of more than seven pence per litre (ppl) in the last five months.

Despite the current crisis, he said he was buoyed by the farmers he met on his visit to Yorkshire and their determination to be successful in business.

He called in at one of the region’s most successful dairy firms, Longley Farm in Holmfirth, and met farmers, including Longley’s managing partner Jimmy Dickinson.

“The dairy farmers I’ve been speaking to are rightly concerned about very low prices they are receiving which is having a big effect on cash flows,” Mr Raymond said. “Some farmers are receiving as little as 20 pence per litre (ppl) and we all know the price of production is 30ppl.”

“It’s a very expensive time of the year so it’s causing huge problems.”

Earlier yesterday, Arla Foods, which sources milk from hundreds of Yorkshire farmers, said its milk price will remain unchanged in February - ending a downward trend - and an adjustment of 0.06ppl was being made to its 2015 forecasted 13th payment, raising its standard UK litre price to 24.87p.

Mr Raymond said: “I’m hopeful that the marketplace is starting to stabilise. We’ve seen at the global dairy auction a small price rise and hopefully this will encourage some of the bigger importers like China back to the market.”

He called on retailers to give more shelf space to British dairy products, the EU to adopt country of origin labels on dairy products, and the Chancellor to extend tax averaging on farms.

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