Dairy industry in the spotlight

ON the Eve of the Welsh Dairy Show the FUW put the spotlight firmly on the dairy industry at a farm visit at the home of Daioni Organic.

IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR: From left, Eira and Laurence Harris, Elizabeth and Michael Eavis of Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, Tom and Francisca Harris with their children.

IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR: From left, Eira and Laurence Harris, Elizabeth and Michael Eavis of Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, Tom and Francisca Harris with their children.

Joining the visit at Ffosyficer farm, Boncath, Pembrokeshire were many union members and officials, as well as, Mr Michael Eavis of Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, who is mostly known as the founder and organiser of the Glastonbury Festival. A dairy farmer for over 40 years, Laurence Harris has taken Daioni ‐ meaning “goodness” ‐ from strength to strength. Since taking over Ffosyficer farm ‐ still the heart of the Daioni business ‐ from his father in 1970, Laurence expanded the family farm from 150 acres to well over 3,000 acres of fertile pasture. The farm was converted to organic production in 1999 and since then, Laurence and his team have added value to their premium quality dairy produce which has culminated in the launch of the Daioni

ENJOYING THE FARM VISIT: From left, Michael Eavis, Francisca Harris and FUW Carmarthen county executive officer David Waters.

ENJOYING THE FARM VISIT: From left, Michael Eavis, Francisca Harris and FUW Carmarthen county executive officer David Waters.

brand and a suite of products that are being sold internationally. In 2008 Daioni flavoured milk was exported overseas for the first time and is now stocked in outlets around the world as well as in small retailers and major supermarkets across the UK. In addition, in 2012 Daioni became the first British dairy company to gain organic certification in mainland China and in 2014 they opened their Hong Kong office to focus on Asia Pacific sales. Today exports account for over 15 per cent of the business turnover. Around twenty local people are employed by the farming business which today is solely owned by the Harris family and continues to go from strength to strength. Speaking at the farm visit, Mr Harris, who last year was awarded with the FUW/ HSBC outstanding service to Welsh dairy industry award, said: “We all welcome the visit of Michael Eavis to Ffosyficer. As a person who has seriously added value to his dairy farm, we can all learn from his enthusiasm and foresight in attracting urbanites to the lovely pastures of Worthy Farm. It is so important to try and enlighten our consumers to the issues that dairy farmers currently face.” FUW deputy president Brian Thomas told delegates at the event: “Our dairy industry has suffered quite a bit with low prices over recent years. Many producers have seen their milk cheque cut in half and often find themselves having to deal with unfair contracts. The unfortunate truth is that our dairy producers will have to cope with extreme price volatility in the future. “Whilst there have been some notable price increases in recent months ‐ and these must be welcomed ‐ full price recovery may still be some way into the future due to a continuing global supply and demand imbalance.” Mr Thomas further told delegates that capitalising on new markets may well be a vital component of the Welsh dairy sector post‐Brexit and it is essential that the prices paid to our farmers allow room for investment and innovation so that we can be globally competitive. Addressing the issue of bovine TB, Mr Thomas said: “Bovine TB still poses a significant problem here in Pembrokeshire. We welcomed the Welsh Government’s announcement that it will consider a badger test‐and‐cull type approach to TB and it is as a small step in the right direction, but many farmers will be concerned at the implications of splitting Wales into TB zones. “I want to be clear on one thing ‐ we cannot place any further financial or administrative burden on the industry. The Welsh Government has a moral obligation to fund the next steps ‐ given the millions of pounds squandered on an ineffective badger vaccination program.”

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