UK Dairy Could Thrive in Recession

UK - "Agriculture as a whole has the potential to thrive in a year predicted to be marked by a full blown, recession, volatile food markets and changing climate." That was the message National Farmers Union (NFU) President Peter Kendall delivered to delegates to the British Cattle Breeders’ Conference on 21 January 2009.
calendar icon 26 January 2009
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However, he warned that the dairy industry, while having bright prospects, faced significant short term pressures, which threatened to undermine the viability of many dairy farming businesses.

Mr Kendall said: "The dairy industry has all the right ingredients for a very positive future - growing demand for dairy products, increasing consumer demand and willingness to pay for high quality British food, and the capacity to grow and take advantages of new market opportunities.

"However, in the short term dairy farmers are buckling under the pressure of unstable milk prices, high input costs, the need for reinvestment on farm, low calf prices, labour shortages, increased costs of borrowing and a worsening TB situation.

"Against this backdrop, the recommendations set out in the NFU's Vision for the Dairy Industry - which pioneered dedicated supply chains, better contracts and greater efficiency throughout the supply chain - are more important than ever in avoiding extreme market volatility."

Mr Kendall also called on government to reduce the burden of inspection on dairy farms and in particular, highlighted the potential to reduce hygiene inspections by recognising Farm Assurance as an indicator of low risk.

He said: "The NFU has been cooperating with Government and the Food Standards Agency for a number of years to see a more risk based approach to inspections on farm - reducing duplication, time and costs - yet progress is frustratingly slow and our patience is wearing very thin.

"This will be one of the many things the NFU will be calling for in it's Action Plan for British Dairying, due to be launched very soon. The Plan will show leadership to the supply chain and Government by offering remedies and solutions to many of the short term pressures the dairy industry faces."

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