Every dairy farmer in NI urged to ‘pick up the phone’ and demand a fair price

Every dairy farmer in Northern Ireland is being urged to ‘pick up the phone’ and demand a much-needed just price for their milk, that is in line with record dairy prices.

Speaking after an angry Ulster Farmers’ Union dairy committee meeting, UFU dairy chairman, Mervyn Gordon, stated: “The UFU would urge every dairy farmer to pick up the phone and ring their local board representative following their ongoing hesitation to provide a justified, fair return to producers for their milk.

“This week’s dairy auction in New Zealand saw prices hit all-time record levels, up 19.5 per cent in the last eight weeks, but dairy processors are failing to pass significant dairy commodity returns back to their suppliers.”

Mr Gordon said farmers are “beyond frustrated” at this stage, as they are not seeing any benefit from the booming dairy market “because of their processors”.

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“To aggravate the situation further, our dairy farmers expressed their anger that when dairy commodity prices fell two years on the back of Covid-19, dairy companies were very quick to slash the farmgate price,” he continued.

“Yet, now when we are on the flip side, they’re dragging their heels on giving farmers the return they deserve despite record rises for all dairy products.”

The UFU MPI allows for processing costs which is data published by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and does not account for processor margin nor transport.

Mr Gordon continued: “Farmers are aware of the data, they have seen it first-hand.

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“Producers need to have confidence in the processor they are supplying.

“They put so much effort into producing high-quality milk and their margins are under severe pressure with record high input prices.

“Should confidence in their processor not be restored, there will be a severe shortage of milk when it is needed most.

“Whilst the UFU can make calls to dairy companies urging them to pay reflective milk prices, the processors cannot ignore direct calls from the very people that their businesses are built upon.

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“I would urge them to address this situation immediately and do what is right,” Mr Gordon ended.