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Stackyard News Sep 06

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British public loves the British pinta - and the British farmer

80% of British public would rather buy milk that has come from a British dairy rather than a dairy abroad says CLA poll...


dairy cows

As the dairy industry prepares to meet at the annual Dairy Event in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire (20-21 September) the CLA releases results of a major poll into the general public's opinion of dairy industry which, it claims, shows a "glimpse of optimism" for the sector.

The CLA-commissioned ICM Poll reveals the following opinions:

  • 80% would rather buy milk that I know has come from a British dairy rather than a dairy abroad
  • 60% would rather buy locally produced dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream than leading brands or supermarket own brands.
  • 85% believed that dairy farmers cannot be expected to compete if supermarkets keep cutting the price of milk
  • 70% thought that the countryside would be worse if we lost the dairy sector

David Fursdon, CLA President, said, "The dairy industry has had more than its fair share of problems in recent years. The farm gate price for milk coupled with the market power held by supermarkets and the milk processors has hit the industry hard, whereas their inputs continue to rise. On top of that, there is the threat from DEFRA and HM Treasury that its support system should be ended in a decade and of further increased costs through complying with new environmental regulations and animal disease controls.

The poll shows that the British public wants as much as possible of the money they spend on dairy products to go directly to individual diary farmers. They would rather have their milk from this country as opposed to anywhere else. They think that the supermarkets have not helped the dairy sector and they believe that if we lose our dairy farmers the British countryside will suffer.

The latter point is particularly encouraging for the CLA. In its report, A future for livestock grazing in England and Wales first launched in July 2004 – and which the CLA is updating in time for this year's Dairy event - the CLA challenged the public to make the connection between a viable livestock industry and the sort of countryside the public wants to enjoy.

David Fursdon added: 'What people say in surveys compared to how they spend their money in the supermarket or corner shop can be quite different things, so let's hope their intentions are put into action. However, I think the sector should be encouraged by this poll. It shows its customer base is loyal and there is a glint of optimism here – the public is linking landscape to who looks after it and recognising the vital role of agricultural activity.'

link Dairy Industry Needs Strong Regulator
link British Friesian bloodlines to the fore at Carlisle
link Farming Union Demands Milk Price Rise

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