Sector suffering, says NFU

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The number of dairy farmers in England and Wales has halved in just over a decade with 60 farmers giving up producing milk in December alone – a rate which will see fewer than 5,000 dairy farmers left by 2025, the NFU has said.

NFU President Meurig Raymond was speaking at the 25th Semex Conference in Glasgow on Monday – the first big dairy conference of 2015 – where he highlighted the current situation with First Milk and set out what he wants to see happen across the board to support dairy farmers at this crucial time.

“I and the NFU dairy team met with First Milk the day after their announcement last Thursday,” said Mr Raymond. “I told them that their time scales were unacceptable. I am also challenging them to get out and explain to their farmer suppliers what these changes are and explain how it will impact them. I know that First Milk have their AGM later this month, but the questions need answering now.

“The recent milk price cuts, from most processors, have had a massive impact with some farmers now facing their lowest milk price since 2007, at around 20p per litre. At the same time, farm costs remain some 36 per cent higher than they were eight years ago and the single largest cost component of a dairy farm, animal feed, is more than 50 per cent higher than 2007 levels.”