UNDEB AMAETHWYR CYMRU
FARMERS' UNION OF WALES
Llys Amaeth, Plas Gogerddan, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3BT.
86 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 20 JULY 2012
SIGN UP TO SUPPORT DAIRY FARMERS AT FUW PAVILION
Royal Welsh Show visitors will be encouraged to show their support for Welsh dairy farmers by signing an open letter to supermarkets and milk processors at the Farmers' Union of Wales pavilion alongside the main ring during this week's four-day event (July 23-26).
By signing the letter they will be expressing their dismay over the impact reductions in farmgate milk prices on farm businesses in Wales and calling for action to reverse the cuts.
The letter will also emphasise the need for all those involved in the dairy supply chain to work together to ensure an acceptable and sustainable price is received by all.
"The recent cuts come at a time when feed prices and wet weather have caused a major rise in milk production costs meaning that large numbers of farmers are receiving or anticipating below cost-of-production prices for their milk," the letter adds.
"Coupled with other financial pressures on producers, not least those caused by the ongoing bovine TB epidemic, the recent cuts represent a major threat to the industry as a whole, particularly the traditional family farms where consumers expect their milk to be produced.
"This is confirmed in a recent report by Kite Consulting which states that the exit rate for those producers subjected to the lowest price cuts and the best dairying conditions will be between 3% and 5% because of low confidence and cash-flow problems, while the exit rate as a whole could easily rise to levels of around 15% for the industry as a whole once a 1.5p/litre feed price increase takes effect.
"The report also states that the price cuts due on the 1st of August will result in a monthly deficit for the average farmer of £6,500, rising to £7,500 as anticipated production costs increases take effect.
"In the short term, and in order to avert a severe reaction by the industry and a major reduction in UK milk production, it is clearly in the interests of processors and supermarkets to undo the damage done over recent weeks by restoring prices.
"However, in the long term it is essential for all those involved in the supply chain to work together to ensure stability within the industry.
"The forming of Producer Organisations, adoption of a Code of Conduct and the development of acceptable contracts all have an important role to play in doing this.
"It is also essential that price mechanisms, which are transparent and ensure returns to producers which genuinely reflect production costs and market values, are introduced.
"I would therefore urge you to do all you can to ensure that the recent damage caused to the industry is undone, while seeking to secure the long term solutions referred to above well ahead of the abolition of milk quota in 2015."
A life-size model of a dairy cow Tegwen - Welsh for "fair" and "white" - painted in the colours of the Welsh flag will also highlight the FUW campaign to achieve a fair farmgate price for milk during the Royal Welsh Show.
A new black and white poster with a headline "Dairy Farmers Need a Fair Price" graphically depicting the plight of Welsh dairy farmers will hang from Tegwen's neck as she ruminates alongside the pavilion.
It will show the average retail price for milk is 30p per pint, production costs are 17p but the farmer receives just 14p per pint.
"The poster shows in simple terms just why the dairy industry is in crisis and why the number of traditional dairy farms continues to dwindle across Wales," said FUW milk and dairy produce committee chairman Dei (CORRECT SPELLING) Davies.
"Over 800 dairy farms in Wales have shut down between 2006 and last year. The figures reveal that in just five years they have dwindled from 2,727 to 1,908.
"It must not be overlooked that the loss of these farms has its own knock-on effect on community life in our rural villages and communities which thrived in past times due to a vibrant farming industry."
NOTE TO EDITORS: A copy of the poster and a picture of Tegwen is attached.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Next Wednesday afternoon (3 o'clock) a group of Scarlets rugby players will visit the FUW pavilion for a photoshoot with Tegwen to promote Welsh milk and dairy products.
Out of hours press contacts:
Peter Roberts - Swyddfa/Office: (01970) 820820
Ffôn Symudol/Mobile: 07787 530141
Cartref/Home: (01974) 241656
Anne Birkett - Swyddfa/Office: (01970) 820820
Ffôn Symudol/Mobile: 07831 539332
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