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Pembrokeshire Show to Highlight Milk Crisis

20 August 2009

PEMBROKESHIRE, UK - In a month where food security and the development of sustainable food systems has moved up the political agenda Glyn Jones, NFU Cymru Pembrokeshire County Chairman, will use the County Show to highlight what actions he believes need to be taken to ensure milk producers in Pembrokeshire can help contribute to domestic food security

Glyn, a dairy farmer from St Davids said, “Whilst it is pleasing that, at last, there appears to be recognition that domestic food production needs to increase to meet future demand placed on us by population growth and climate change, these good words now need to change into practical measures which can help farmers in Wales respond to this challenge.

“A significant amount of milk produced in Pembrokeshire goes into cheese production. Whilst I commend retailers for the significant progress made with regards to dedicated supply relationships between producers and retailers for liquid milk, we need to establish similar relationships for dairy farmers supplying milk for high quality Welsh cheeses.

“The Welsh Assembly Government has a part to play and in particular we need to see an increase in the proportion of milk and milk products procured by Government and local authorities. Whilst there are good examples, many in Pembrokeshire, of local produce being used in public procurement much more needs to be done.” Mr Jones made reference to figures within the Welsh Assembly Government Local Sourcing Action Plan* which states that 66% of milk and only 29% of added value dairy products used in the Welsh public sector are sourced from Wales.

He said, “I understand that there are challenges faced to increase these figures, not least in the liquid sector with the recent loss of the liquid milk plant in Bridgend, but the public sector in Wales should place recognition on the environmental and animal welfare standards that Welsh farmers adhere to when procurement contracts are written up.”

Mansel Raymond, NFU Cymru Milk Board Chairman, who farms in Pembrokeshire said, “Producer confidence is crucial to the long term sustainability of domestic milk production, a drop of 20% in our milk price over the past nine months has knocked what little confidence we had regained from the price rises we saw in 2008. We can rise to the challenge set of securing a sustainable domestic food supply but in return we need long term security from a milk price which allows us to invest in the challenges our businesses face in continuing to produce milk whilst meeting our environmental responsibilities.”

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