Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones has given his backing to dairy farmers’ fight to get a fair price for the milk they produce.
He has written to Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Jim Paice MP to express the Council’s ‘serious concern’ at dairy farmers’ plight. In the letter Cllr Jones says:
“I am writing to you to raise the Council’s very serious concerns over the plight of dairy farmers across Cheshire East. By early August a significant number of our farmers will have seen the price they receive for milk reduce by 15 per cent over recent months, leading to severe economic hardship and, in some cases, decisions to go out of milk production altogether, losing a heritage which goes back many generations. The impact on the wider rural economy could be devastating.
“Many farmers will be receiving significantly less for their milk than it costs to produce. No business can continue to produce a product if the price that they receive for it is consistently lower than the cost of production. Over the last 20 years, dairy farmers across the country have striven to become ever more efficient, they have been successful in this but there is a point beyond which they cannot go.
“The Borough Council will do all that it can to support dairy farmers and ensure that they have access to the best possible advice. However, I would ask that the Government does all that it can to improve the plight of dairy farmers. There are many things that can be done, a lot of them at no cost to the taxpayer. These include:
● Support fair milk contracts that stop milk buyers from exploiting dairy farmers;
● Lighten the load of farm regulation to prevent unnecessary extra regulatory costs;
● Put pressure on all major buyers of milk and dairy products to commit to pay fair prices that cover production costs;
● Ensure that the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill, which is currently before Parliament, becomes law as quickly as possible. This is important legislation as an adjudicator could stamp out unfair practices at the retailer end of the supply chain.
“I look forward to hearing from you and learning what steps the Government will be taking to support this vital sector of the economy. The implications of doing nothing are unthinkable.”