Dairy industry unites behind calls for urgent government action to save sector

 Father and son taking cows out to pasture_66198

Appeals for urgent government action to save the dairy industry have been backed by the entire supply chain, including UK farming unions, RABDF, Dairy UK and the Provision Trade Federation.

The group has written to the Defra Secretary of State George Eustice to reiterate its support for the proposals put forward by the NFU to protect dairy farm businesses from irreversible damage:

  • A targeted grant scheme for affected farmers that is similar to the Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme;
  • A fully funded, government run voluntary national production reduction scheme; which effectively furloughs dairy cows.
  • Engagement with the EU Commission to introduce market support measures, such as Private Storage Aid.

In the letter, they write:

"The situation is continuing to escalate rapidly with serious financial consequences for many individual businesses. There are farmers unable to pay their feed companies and having to sell cows. There are dairy companies that, having lost all of their key markets, still have to deal with the milk and find a home for it in an oversupplied marketplace.

“These may have been isolated impacts to start with, but we know that already around a quarter of the dairy industry has been affected within just a matter of weeks.

“It is important to reiterate that only a matter of weeks ago, all of this milk had a good home, and hopefully in a few months’ time, those markets will return. The British dairy sector wants to be there to meet that demand, so it is crucial that the industry is not irreversibly damaged by this crisis.

“We need action now, as well as a more considered response for the medium and longer-term measures. We cannot over-emphasise the urgency of the current situation. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, as government is already demonstrating elsewhere. We believe now is the time to do all we can to ensure the long-term sustainability of the UK dairy sector.”

Signatories to the letter are:

  • Minette Batters, NFU President
  • John Davies, NFU Cymru President
  • Andrew McCornick, NFU Scotland President
  • Ivor Ferguson, Ulster Farmers Union President
  • Glyn Roberts, Farmers Union of Wales President
  • Paul Vernon, DairyUK Chairman
  • Phillip Langslow, Provision Trade Federation Chairman
  • Peter Alvis, Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers Chairman

Email your MP on dairy today

The NFU is regularly in touch with MPs and has briefed them on the many challenges facing our dairy farmers at the moment. However, a direct communication from a constituent whose business is experiencing these challenges first hand helps to paint the picture much more clearly and certainly makes an impact in terms of influencing politicians.

The NFU has put together an online tool for members to email their local MP to make the case to government to take urgent action to support the dairy industry. The letter template is editable so do add personal comments into the communication.

Click here to email your MP now

Click here to use the NFU's COVID-19 business impact service.

By using this form, farmers and growers can provide information on any business-critical issues they have encountered, or expect to encounter, arising from the COVID-19 outbreak. The NFU will log this information and use it in an anonymised format to flag the key issues agriculture and horticulture are facing to government on a daily basis. However, no personal data will be shared with the government. The service is for all farmers and growers across the UK.

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