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NFU takes dairy concerns to Defra minister

Ways of easing volatility in the milk sector were discussed by Secretary of State Liz Truss and the NFU in a meeting recently.

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Ways of easing volatility in the milk sector were discussed by Secretary of State Liz Truss and the NFU in a meeting recently, with President Meurig Raymond and dairy board chairman Rob Harrison.

In a constructive exchange, the difficulties faced by many farmers in the current market situation were recognised and a number of positive steps forward were identified for Defra, NFU and the industry as a whole.

Meurig Raymond said: “It’s understandable that government can do little about commodity price shifts, but I’m heartened by the continued enthusiasm from Liz Truss to listen to the industry on areas where they can make a difference.

“There are areas where we can work together with Defra on promotion, labelling, public procurement and taxation to ensure that we reach that bright future that I want all our dairy farmers to be a part of.

“The Secretary of State, like the NFU, recognised that long term there is positive future for the dairy sector and is keen to work with us to help it reach its potential.”

Top of the agenda was increasing the export potential of UK dairy and the NFU is pleased to see Defra investing in trade capacity building in Asia and looking at new trading opportunities further afield. The NFU would also encourage Government to tackle some of the barriers put in place to traditional markets.

The Minister agreed to raise NFU concerns on misleading origin labelling on British dairy products with EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, when she meets him next week, given that origin labelling on dairy products is soon to be discussed at the European level. The NFU stressed that the UK Government should continue to support country of origin labelling.

NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison added: “The dairy board will help Government identify the areas they can help the dairy sector. But we’ll also continue with our work in helping farmers manage volatility, including developing different, innovative contract options, continuing our work on futures markets and increase farmer collaboration.

“We will continue to have regular meetings with Government, and will raise member concerns through the Dairy Supply Chain Forum later this month and in providing written and oral evidence to the EFRA inquiry into dairy prices”.


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