Dairy farmers’ survival fears

DAIRY FARMING FEARS: From left, FUW president Glyn Roberts, Montgomeryshire county chairman Mark Williams, deputy county chairman Alwyn Vaughan, Brian Jones, FUW member Rob Corfield, Kay Swinburne, FUW vice president Eifion Huws, Rhydian Owen and FUW senior policy officer Dr Hazel Wright.

DAIRY FARMING FEARS: From left, FUW president Glyn Roberts, Montgomeryshire county chairman Mark Williams, deputy county chairman Alwyn Vaughan, Brian Jones, FUW member Rob Corfield, Kay Swinburne, FUW vice president Eifion Huws, Rhydian Owen and FUW senior policy officer Dr Hazel Wright.

A STRONG delegation of FUW representatives met Conservative MEP Kay Swinburne recently in a bid to send a strong message direct to Brussels about the problems currently faced by Welsh dairy producers. The meeting took place on FUW member Brian K Jones’s 210-acre dairy enterprise, Cefncoed Farms, Coed y Parc, Caersws, Newtown, which he runs with his wife Susan and son Andrew. The couple recently had their milk supply contract cancelled and were keen to drive a strong message straight to Brussels about the dire situation many Welsh familyrun dairy farmers find themselves in. Mr Jones, FUW milk and dairy produce committee’s Montgomeryshire delegate, said: “The current situation faced by many Welsh dairy farmers is unacceptable and further action needs to be taken to address the problems facing family farms which are under real threat.” He also took the opportunity to highlight the difficulties facing farmers like himself whose contracts had been cancelled by Meadow Foods. “Meadow Foods told the Farmers Weekly last week (November 20) that the company has ‘no plans to tear up contracts’, but that’s exactly what they have done to a number of us in this area.” He and others in the area were written to in June. The letter stated: “…Meadow Foods has been reviewing all areas of our operation to identify where costs can be reduced and milk price improved. A key area of this review has been milk transport costs. “We have identified a small number of producers who are located in outlying areas and therefore have a significant increased cost to collect; unfortunately your farm sits within this group. We have looked at various ways of reducing these costs to no success. Therefore, with regret, we have taken the decision to hereby serve you notice on your milk supply contract with Meadow Foods…” Mr Jones added: “Because I am a tenant farmer, losing this contract at a time when nobody is taking on new producers means that we are now looking at losing the roof over our heads. “It also means that my son, who works on the farm, will lose his job and his livelihood. If this continues there will be real problems for the industry.” FUW vice president Eifion Huws said: “These are very uncertain times for the dairy industry and this year we have experienced market volatility like we haven’t seen in a long time. “Not only are our farmers struggling with low milk prices, which are notably below the cost of production, they are now also being forced out of the industry because companies like Meadow Foods can’t find a way of collecting milk.” FUW milk and dairy produce committee chairman Rhydian Owen said: “We are thankful to Kay Swinburne for taking the time to hear the FUW’s concerns and the particular issues affecting tenanted family farms such as Coed y Parc.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.