Byrne gives his backing to protest


SDLP West Tyrone MLA and vice chair of the Stormont Agriculture Committee Joe Byrne joined farmers protesting in Belfast about the ongoing farmgate price crisis.

Speaking after the protest, Mr Byrne said: “I continue to support Farmers For Action and all those who have been hit by the farmgate price crisis which threatens ordinary dairy farmers across the north.

“The farmers protesting in Belfast today handed over a petition to the European Commission Office here calling for urgent discussions to bring a resolution to this issue as soon as possible. A further meeting is scheduled for the first week in September to discuss the next steps in the campaign.

“The dairy industry is in dire straits if we cannot come to some resolution. I have been raising the matter consistently with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and still the crisis drags on. We need direct negotiation for a threshold price of 20p per litre to stabilise the milk market, and we need a private storage scheme agreed so that skimmed milk products and other derivatives can be stockpiled to be sold into the market at a later stage.

“I will continue to make the case for local farmers with the minister and with Brussels.”