The NFU is having urgent talks with First Milk after the co-operative announcement that it is delaying the next milk payment by two weeks, increasing capital levy contributions and recouping extra capital from farmers at a time when they are already under huge financial pressure.
NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “This is a wholly unacceptable announcement from First Milk coming after last week’s announcement of a milk price cut, which I understand is partly to be reversed, with members now being asked to fork out an extra 1.5ppl in capital investment as well as receiving a delayed payment for milk already supplied.
“The NFU’s first priority has been to get a meeting with First Milk to seek answers to very specific questions about how this will impact on our members.
“It is quite clear that this announcement will be a serious burden for farmers and will be damaging to cash flow at an expensive and demanding time of year for costs. It is essential at this time that banks understand and are supportive of our farmer members so they can continue to finance their businesses. I will be personally contacting all the main agricultural banks to ask them to do so. It is so important at this difficult time for the dairy industry that the financial health of First Milk is secured.”
NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison said: “We are urgently seeking answers from First Milk. With the unprecedented volatility that the industry has seen over the last 12 months, the NFU has been, and will continue to, help our members as best we can when deeply distressing announcements are made in the industry.
“We will aim to provide answers to members through our regional services and through NFU CallFirst. I would also ask those in the allied industries to be sensitive of the impact this announcement will have on the cash flow of many dairy farmers across the UK.”
Any NFU members that are concerned can phone NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.