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UFU Press Commissioner to Support Dairy Farmers

18 May 2009

IRELAND - The Ulster Farmers’ Union has urged European Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel to support dairy farmers in Northern Ireland.

UFU representatives discussed the crisis in the dairy sector with the EU Commissioner at this weeks Balmoral Show in Belfast.

UFU President Graham Furey said: “For months dairy farmers have been receiving farm gate milk prices below the cost of production.

"We have urged the Commissioner to do more to assist the dairy sector through what is a very difficult situation.

"The dairy market is experiencing severe difficulties and we have urged the Commissioner to use the market management tools at her disposal, particularly an increase in dairy export refunds, to boost the returns for producers”.

UFU Dairy Policy Chairman William Cromie said; “We appreciate the opportunity to speak directly to the Commissioner. We emphasised to her the pivotal role which the dairy sector plays in the Northern Ireland agri-food sector and our economy.

"The industry is experiencing very difficult circumstances and the EU Commission has a responsibility to bring stability to our marketplace. "Commissioner Fischer Boel did give us an undertaking that she would look again at this issue on her return to Brussels and we will continue to stay in touch with her to highlight the support which local dairy farmers need at this time from the EU Commission”.

UFU Chairmen from the Beef and Lamb and Hill Farming sectors also spoke to the Commissioner about local farmers views on the current review of the Less Favoured Area scheme and the need for future sheep identification rules to be practical and workable. UFU President Graham Furey said Union members had also supported the Commissioner on her plans to investigate the distribution of profits in the food supply chain. “Farmers feel strongly that they are not getting a proper share of the profits from the food chain and we will support the Commissioner wholeheartedly as she looks into this issue," he said.

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