NFU Pick up the Pieces After Milk Co-op Collapse

UK - The National Farmers Union (NFU) yesterday met with Dairy Farmers of Britain (DFB) and receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers to see what can be done to help its dairy members affected by the collapse of the co-operative.
calendar icon 9 June 2009
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

It is believed well over 1,000 NFU dairy farming members will be affected after DFB went into receivership last week.

NFU Dairy Board Chairman Gwyn Jones said: "It was crucial that we met with PWC and DFB at the earliest opportunity. We had a long list of questions, some of which will have to wait to be answered - including how did we get here? Where has the money gone? And why did things go so wrong? However, today's meeting was about ensuring the smoothest transition through this situation and clarifying specific technical and legal points that have been raised by our members.

"I was reassured to hear that all milk has been collected so far. However, I remain extremely concerned that some farmers with small volumes or in remote locations could end up with no buyer for their milk. The NFU is working very hard to ensure that as many farmers as possible are able to find suitable homes for their milk.

"I am receiving a growing number of reports that some buyers are taking advantage of farmers in vulnerable positions and offering shamefully low milk prices. I will be investigating this matter further and any buyer that is proved to be profiteering and exploiting farmers will be exposed.

"Our discussions with PWC and DFB will continue throughout this difficult process. In the meantime, we will continue to offer our members the best support, information and guidance that we can", said Mr Jones.

Meanwhile, NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond has today written to the largest agricultural banks to assist in helping these businesses overcome any immediate financial difficulties in order to assist a smooth transition and minimise any detrimental impact that the announcement might have on the dairy farming sector.

He said: "I am convinced that the majority of the farming businesses that are affected by the collapse of DFB have a bright long-term future. However, the immediate situation is characterised by uncertainty, instability and, for many, significant short term cash flow implications. I am keen to learn what arrangements the banks are likely to put in place to assist those affected."

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