The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed the increase in the base milk price announced by Dale Farm, describing this as a lead that others in the industry should follow.
UFU president, Barclay Bell, said the UFU had been pressing for some time for an increase in the milk price, and that he was glad this pressure had paid off with Dale Farm, as a farmer owned business.
“We were tough in our stance, to the degree that the organisation representing processors opted to suspend engagement with us over the issue. That was unfortunate, and I believe wrong, but I am more than happy to give credit where it is due. This is a timely and welcome move by Dale Farm, and one that will certainly be welcomed by the farmers that own the business. Most of those farmers are UFU members, and through our dairy committee it was farmers that pressed us to take a tough line on prices,” said Mr Bell.
The UFU has been critical of processors in Northern Ireland over their failure to pass on the impact of stronger global markets and the weakening of sterling. The combination of a higher base price and a winter bonus will bring the average Dale Farm price over 26 pence a litre.
“Dale Farm has done the right thing. It is unfortunate that relations became strained when we were pressing for this, but the outcome was worth pursuing. My message to other processors is that an example has been set, and we will not shy away from being critical if others do not follow this lead. We will continue to monitor markets and we will challenge processors again if we believe they are not being fair to their farmer suppliers. At the end of the day that is our role, as the biggest voice of farmers in Northern Ireland,” said the UFU president.