UFU and United Dairy Farmers Discuss Milk Prices

UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union has discussed rising producers costs and the need for higher milk prices with United Dairy Farmers, the main purchaser of milk in Northern Ireland.
calendar icon 16 June 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

The UFU described the meeting as a useful and open exchange of views about the prospects for the local dairy sector in the year ahead.

UFU President Graham Furey who attended the talks said; “Grass roots dairy farmers are concerned that farm gate milk prices are not keeping pace with rising costs and this is putting serious financial pressure on producers. We have discussed the ways in which milk purchased in Northern Ireland is handled, processed and marketed, and whether the milk auction process was operating to the maximum benefit of local dairy farmers, particularly during periods of peak supply. Without profitable dairy farmers in Northern Ireland there won’t be a dairy industry in the Province. With the industry facing the huge challenge of rising feed, fuel and fertiliser costs, everything about the local industry has to work to the maximum efficiency”.

The UFU says there is now cautious optimism that milk prices will strengthen in the months ahead but these will have to be at levels to more than offset the much higher costs of production facing farm businesses. With these higher costs coming on the back of substantial investments having to be made to comply with the Nitrates Directive, dairy farmers are looking for a much needed confidence boost in their milk returns.

The UFU also discussed a wide range of other issues with United Dairy Farmers including proposals for further reform of the CAP. The UFU says producers are concerned that the removal of the milk quota system and export refund supports, coupled with further erosion of remaining EU market support tools, could leave the industry exposed to very volatile market conditions. The latest situation in the WTO negotiations was also reviewed and again a bad WTO deal could be very damaging to the local dairy sector. Bluetongue, access to GM free feedstuffs and prospects for calf exports were also discussed.

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