Farmers claim they are going out of business

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DESPITE a rise in milk prices dairy farmers claim that many are still unable to make a living and are going out of business.

First Milk, a marketing co-operative, is increasing the price of liquid milk by 0.25p per litre.

Commenting on the recent announcement, NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond said: “This represents good news for First Milk’s members and reflects the continued strength of commodities’

“Yet, even with today’s price increase, the gap between the market price and the farm gate price remains unsustainably wide. With costs also escalating on farm, First Milk’s members will be hoping that this is just the start of things to come.

 “It has been a frustrating few months and I am still extremely concerned at the continued lack of movement in the liquid market. Processors have been talking of a time lag, but this is a complete blockage and is further evidence that there are factors at play here which are preventing markets from operating properly.

“If ever the Government wanted more evidence of market failure in the dairy industry to back our calls for regulation on contracts, then this has to be it.”

Glaisdale dairy farmer Martin Burtt who chairs the North East NFU Dairy Board and is a member of First Milk, said: “It’s a step in the right direction but we’re still miles behind on price.

“We’re facing hugely increased costs, feed prices are going through the roof as also are fuel costs including the red diesel for tractors.

“As a result, producers are continuing to go out of business. Every year between 500 and 1,000 dairy farmers give up.

“Five to ten years down the line and I can see that few will be left. But milk is a basic commodity that everyone needs.

“Importing it is not satisfactory – it’s a fresh product and it needs to be produced close to where it’s sold and consumed.”