Change at the top as First Milk price falls again

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DAIRY PROCESSING co-operative First Milk has revealed fresh cuts to its farm gate milk price as Sir Jim Paice announced that he will step down as its chairman.

Despite the new price drops, Sir Jim said he felt the time was right to walk away as he was confident that a programme to turnaround First Milk’s fortunes was now well underway.

But it is scant consolation in the short term for dairy farmers who will, from Wednesday, see their standard litre price for ‘A volumes’ reduced by 1 pence per litre (ppl). The only exception is the Midlands balancing pool which will see a 0.7ppl reduction.

Confirming his decision to step down, Sir Jim said: “As you will be aware from recent milk price announcements around the globe, commodity markets are continuing to decline. While the turnaround actions that have been taken over the last two months have improved our trading position, we also have to factor in the impact of lower commodity prices. I know this is further disappointing news, which I regret.

“With the turnaround programme now gathering pace and the timescales for an external review agreed, I believe the time is right to announce my intention to step down as chairman of First Milk.”

Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers’ Union, said Sir Jim had chaired First Milk through a “very turbulent time” for the industry and said he was pleased that First Milk was looking to the future.

The union’s dairy board chairman Rob Harrison added that farmers needed a guarantee from milk buyers that they are doing all they can to get the best possible price from the market.