Buy British plea as producers face big rise in cost of wheat

A CAMPAIGN has been launched in Yorkshire to help protect livestock farmers from upcoming surges in the price of feed.

Wheat prices are set to soar due to shortages of supply, leading campaign group deliciouslyorkshire to call on national supermarket brands to support British meat producers already battling with increased overheads.

Ultimately, the price hikes felt by the farmers will be passed on to the consumer, as the price of British meat in supermarkets will soar. Some Yorkshire farmers are concerned that this could lead to the disappearance of British meat in certain supermarkets, as cheaper imported meats are favoured.

Experts have been predicting for some time that the current shortage of wheat will lead to a huge increase in prices during 2011, causing problems for British farmers who use wheat-based grain to feed their animals.

According to deliciously-orkshire member, Anna Longthorp, there is a danger that British meat producers could suffer irreparably as consumers choose cheaper imported meat instead.

Anna, of pork company Anna's Happy Trotters, said: "Being free range we're more exposed to weather conditions and pigs need to eat more to keep warm and therefore need to eat more to grow."

Jonathan Knight, chief executive of deliciouslyorkshire, said: "We need to support British meat producers at this difficult time. It is important to remember that British pork is not only of a higher quality but also meets strict welfare standards, which imported meat does not."

The move was supported by British Pig Executive boss, Mick Sloyan, who said: "The UK pig industry had been operating at a disadvantage in recent years owing to the disparity between welfare standards in the UK and Continental Europe."

Anna Longthorp's products are sold across the region to butchers and restaurants, but she is also lucky to supply to Waitrose who sells her meat under its own brand label.

This contract is beneficial as Waitrose takes into account costs to farmers before pricing, allowing Anna to make a small profit. However, as she explains, other farmers are not so lucky

"There will be an awful lot of farmers out there that will be producing at a loss at this point in time."

In order to support British Farmers, consumers should look for the red tractor on produce in supermarkets which confirms it is British.

Summit over milk prices

The National Farmers Union and Farmers For Action are to join forces and organise a summit of dairy farmers' representatives.

Following a London meeting, the bodies agreed to lobby for Defra support for the High Level Milk Group's recommendations to the European Commission for more market intervention.

NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond said: "We are both extremely angry and frustrated by the events of the past few months."

FFA leader David Handley said: "Top of both our agendas is milk prices."

CW 22/1/11