Farm groups join forces for milk meeting

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The Northern Ireland Milk Price Crisis Strike Meeting, which is set for Monday, November 14, at The Glenavon Hotel, Cookstown, at 8pm has now received the full support and participation of Fair Price NI, Holstein UK and Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA) to be full and equal participants with Farmers For Action (FFA).

This puts the meeting under a Northern Ireland Farm Groups heading and organisers say the support of other Northern Ireland farm groups would be most welcome!

Michael Clarke, Chairman of NIAPA, said: “A huge number of dairy farmers in Northern Ireland, alongside the vast majority of other sectors, were at the end of their tether trying to make ends meet with no attempt by the food corporates or processors to address the problem properly, therefore it is time for the crisis meeting.”

Charlie Weir, of Fair Price NI, added: “Farm organisations coming together in strength sends a clear message to processors and retailers that dairy farmers must receive a fair share of the financial milk cake within the supply chain. The time is up for them profiteering at the farmers’ expense.”

Holstein UK’s John Martin explained: “In early 2016 it was obvious to Holstein UK that the milk crisis wasn’t going to be resolved quickly, however, in spite of good engagement with milk processors we are disappointed at the lack of movement with Northern Ireland co-op’s base prices for milk to date.

“In France they are receiving 32c/l for October milk and Friesland Campina are paying dairy farmers 10c/l to reduce supply whilst in Northern Ireland it appears processors want an increase in supply. With the French story and other UK regions including Southern Ireland’s dairy farmers receiving considerably more for their milk, the time has come for Holstein UK to participate in the Cookstown crisis meeting.”

William Taylor, FFA UK NI, added: “Northern Ireland’s milk processors can no longer justify their current stance on their base price for milk which is literally driving dairy farmers out of business. The situation is extremely serious to the point where the management of these co-ops must be called into question. With Southern Ireland’s dairy farmers receiving 25c/l + to date and GB heading towards 25p/l and rising, the time is up for Northern Ireland co-ops to deliver.”

The meeting in Cookstown is open to all dairy farmers. The agenda is as follows: The current true cost of milk production – how it can be achieved and maintained; The pros and cons of a milk strike; a vote will be taken at the end of the meeting to decide whether to strike.

The message from organisers ahead of this meeting is simple: “Together we can obtain our fair share of the financial Milk Cake, divided we will definitely get more of the same returns.”