The Scottish dairy industry has been boosted by the announcement that the farmer-owned business Milk Link is to make a £20 million investment in its Lockerbie creamery, turning it in to the largest milk-processing site in Scotland.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead, left, with Neil Kennedy, Milk Link’s chief executive.
Milk Link’s decision to opt to invest in Lockerbie rather than at other sites in the UK will see it create one of the most modern, efficient plants in the country and see cheese production at the creamery potentially jump from its existing level of 25,000 tonnes to 37,000 tonnes.
That must be good news for Scottish dairy farmers, as it will mean an additional requirement for 120 million litres of milk, which Scottish dairy farmers are willing and able to provide.
NFU Scotland Milk Committee Chairman, Kenneth Campbell said:
“This is fantastic news for the Scottish dairy sector. The company’s decision to make a £20 million investment in its creamery and create one of the most modern and efficient cheese-making facilities in the country - if not the EU - shows commitment to meeting the rising demand for cheese both at home and abroad. It is also a shot in the arm for the local economy.
“That is just the kind of investment that we want to see here in Scotland if our dairy sector is to add value and continue supplying consumers at home with fresh, nutritious dairy produce but also have the potential to tap in to rising global demand for dairy products.
“Producing an extra 12,000 tonnes of cheese will need an extra 120 million litres of milk and behind the scenes we have been encouraging Milk Link to look at the opportunities presented by the hugely efficient milk field that already exists on the Lockerbie Creamery’s doorstep. The company has stated that it will now be actively recruiting Scottish dairy farmers to add to the existing 50 Milk Link members in Scotland whom already supply Lockerbie.
“With one third of Scotland’s dairy cows in Dumfries and Galloway and ample milk being produced in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and the Borders, there is plenty of milk available for haulage to the plant.
“We hope that there may be more good news of this kind in the pipeline. NFU Scotland is on a mission to encourage ongoing investment into the Scottish dairy sector and this announcement is just the fillip we need before we head to a major dairy conference in Italy in October. Supported by the Scottish Government, we will be using this conference as an opportunity to research the global market with a view to building a business case encouraging dairy processors to consider inward investment in Scotland.
“This announcement by Milk Link confirms what a great story Scottish dairy farmers have to tell.”
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