News
14th Dec

2015

TFA Media Release No. 33 – New Strategy for the Dairy Sector Needed Urgently

New Strategy for the Dairy Sector Needed Urgently

The Tenant Farmers Association is calling for a new strategy for the dairy sector to help hard-pressed dairy farmers faced with current low prices and little prospect of immediate improvement.

TFA National Chairman, Stephen Wyrill said “At least half of all dairy farms are reliant either wholly or significantly on a tenanted holding and many of them are facing severe cash flow and income deficits.  As a tenanted dairy farmer myself I know, first-hand, exactly how difficult things are.  We have had our expectations both raised and dashed so many times over past months but there is little which appears to be giving any confidence for the future”.

“David Handley from Farmers for Action has been doing a sterling job in negotiating a greater share of retail and wholesale prices going back to farmers in a difficult market place, but we desperately need to move to a position where dairy farmers are able to take control of their production and pricing.  This is a complex area but we must grasp the nettle,” said Mr Wyrill.

“The old saying that even the longest march starts with the first step is so apt for the current situation within the dairy sector.  I would argue that the most important first step to make is import substitution.  It is estimated that an additional one billion litres of domestic milk could be utilised through import displacement.  We have seen consumers voicing their support for British dairy farmers and demonstrating that through, for example, sales of the new ‘Milk for Farmers’ brand from Morrisons. However, I have been frustrated to hear stories of how significant consumers of milk and milk products in the food manufacturing sector find it difficult to source British product even when they specify it.  This must change,” said Mr Wyrill.

“As the TFA has said before, the Government should take the lead on this by changing its public procurement policies in line with the previously agreed principles set out in the Government’s own report which could see a significant increase in the amount of British product used in the public sector,” said Mr Wyrill.

“On the back of that, we need retailers and the food service sector to use their power in the marketplace to require their suppliers to enter into producer organisation arrangements with dairy farmers to provide better balance within the supply chain and more sustainable returns for all parties.  At the same time we also need to be looking at better contract models including more sustainable A/B style models which have not been handled well to date,” said Mr Wyrill.

End

Ref:  MR33

Date: 14 December 2015

Notes for Editors:

For further information contact Stephen Wyrill on 07754 582600 or TFA Communications and Events Co-ordinator Jenna Kirkpatrick on 0118 930 6130.

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