NFU Attacks Milk Buyers, Saying Enough Is Enough

UK - Farmers must receive the long over-due price rise for their milk, new National Farmers' Union (NFU) dairy board chairman, Mansel Raymond, said in his first speech to the NFU Council.
calendar icon 20 April 2010
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

Mr Raymond said that the current market conditions provided strog grounds for a sizeable price increase, and questionned why some farmers were yet to see this in their milk cheques.

“My message to milk buyers is very simple. Do you think that farmers can’t see milk prices rising across the rest of Europe; they don’t know about the record milk auction prices; they aren’t aware that exchange rates have been in our favour; that the level of imports have dropped off a cliff; that DairyCo’s Milk for Cheese Value Equivalent is 3ppl higher than this time last year or that cream prices rose over 13 per cent in March? Let me tell you that we do.

“We can also see that milk production has reached a new low and that any hopes buyers may have had for a late spring flush are well and truly over. Buyers must behave in a proper manner towards their suppliers, and at the moment I believe that farmers and their representatives are being misled.

“As for retailers, I believe there are certain activities that are working against dairy farmers and as a result they are not getting the returns they should be. Dedicated retail chains have delivered some meaningful benefits to dairy farmers in recent years, and the prices offered by most major retailers have offered farmers stability in a volatile market. However, any attempts to undermine or circumnavigate dedicated relationships by aggressive tendering tactics elsewhere in the market will not be tolerated.

“The cheese market continues to be stifled, in part because of a reported resistance by retailers to pay manufacturers prices that reflect market conditions and an unrealistic expectation that the rest of the supply chain should continue to fund ludicrous promotional offers. Enough is enough.

“If any retailer is expecting an influx of cheap Irish cheddar to match what they saw last year then they will be disappointed because the tables have turned. British cheddar production is already nine per cent down on last year and shortages in Ireland and elsewhere mean that any stocks we do have are in demand. Retailers should be securing British supply now, because when it’s gone it’s gone.

“The dairy market situation needs to be investigated immediately. When I have the facts and the evidence I need to move ahead then I will take the necessary steps to ensure that farmers get what they are owed.”

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