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Stackyard News Oct 06

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Campaign for a Sustainable Dairy Industry Gathers Pace

NFU Scotland’s campaign for a sustainable dairy industry is growing in momentum with a number of significant developments over the coming weeks.  These are:

dairy cow
  • At the request of NFU Scotland, the Milk Development Council is working to identify opportunities for product innovation, added value and market development. The importance of innovation was stressed in an earlier study, which concluded that reduced production would not itself lead to higher farmgate prices.  MDC will also look at the potential for distinct Scottish branding on dairy products.
  • NFUS has launched a questionnaire to identify current costs of production.  This will supplement a similar exercise in England and Wales which concluded that, on average, farmgate prices are 4 pence per litre below the cost of production. 
  • The consumer campaign which began at the Royal Highland Show has been continuing around the country.  Thousands have signed the NFUS petition urging supermarkets to play a part in delivering a future for dairy producers.  An inflatable milk bottle highlighting the financial crisis in the sector has been touring the country.
  • NFUS will be delivering signed petitions to the major supermarkets over the next four weeks.  The process will begin with NFUS visiting Tesco next week.
  • NFUS is in the process of meeting representatives of the major supermarkets to impress upon them the potential impact of the crisis in the Scottish dairy sector.

NFUS Vice President Jim McLaren said:

“I’d encourage every dairy farmer to play their part in this campaign.  Whether it is speaking to shoppers outside their local supermarkets, handing out leaflets, contacting their milk buyer or simply filling in our questionnaire, individual producers can make a big difference.

“It is clear from the thousands of people we have spoken to that the Scottish dairy industry is hugely valued.  We need that clear consumer support to translate into sustainable prices at the farmgate.  In the short term, there must be a better return to reflect rising production costs and improved commodity prices.  That is a message we’ll be taking to supermarket’s doorsteps over the next month.

“However, we know full well that the road out of the current crisis is not as simple as getting a fairer share of the supermarket shelf price.  We have to innovate our way out of trouble and identify new markets.  That is a responsibility for the farming and processing industries.  The MDC report of earlier this year identified the need for product development, which is why we have now asked them to do further work to identify specific opportunities.

“Given the current financial nightmare across Scotland’s dairy farms, it is difficult for many of our members to see a future.  But if supermarkets live up to the warm words in their corporate social responsibility documents, consumer support remains rock solid and we invest astutely in product innovation and greater efficiency, I know there is a strong future.”


link APPG calls for greater transparency in dairy food chain
link Dairy Farmers Should Be Valued More
link The Dairy Event builds on success
link Dairy Industry Needs Strong Regulator

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