With low market prices lasting longer than in any previous dairy price cycle, continuing market imbalance is hitting all parts of the dairy supply chain.
Recognising this is a global issue, the Ulster Farmers’ Union and Dairy UK (NI) have launched plans for a major conference next month to focus on how this issue is being tackled internationally.
“That cannot however be an excuse to do nothing. We are working with the banks and others on the short term cash flow crisis – but we have to go beyond this to creating an industry with a stable long term future, and central to that are new ways to reduce price volatility for farmers.”Ian Marshall, UFU president
It will bring together a panel of international experts to look at key aspects of dealing with volatility and managing margin.
Speaking at the launch UFU president, Ian Marshall, and Dairy UK (NI) chairman, Paul Vernon, admitted there were no quick-fix solutions to the current crisis in the industry.
“That cannot however be an excuse to do nothing. We are working with the banks and others on the short term cash flow crisis – but we have to go beyond this to creating an industry with a stable long term future, and central to that are new ways to reduce price volatility for farmers,” said Mr Marshall.
Paul Vernon said the conference was about bringing to Northern Ireland key players from the global dairy supply chain to consider how to deal with the uncertainty that volatility brings to the whole of the dairy supply.
“If we fail to find new ways to tackle this we are accepting that we will continue to live with uncertainty. That cannot be a foundation for an industry that wants to grow to take advantage of the opportunities that will return to dairy markets. Getting out of one crisis and waiting for the next one is the alternative to radical thinking on volatility and margin management,” said Mr Vernon.
The purpose of the conference is to explore the role of government policy in helping dairy businesses to manage margins, by comparing policy approaches in EU and USA, and to gain insight into how dairy farming and dairy processing businesses are being managed in the current environment.