No silver bullet to address dairy downturn

The Tenant Farmers Association believes that a range of measures, rather than one silver bullet, is needed to tackle the current downturn in the dairy market and unless the whole of the industry pulls together, the current difficulties could last for some time.

TFA chairman Stephen Wyrill said: “We have been told to expect volatility, but the ups and downs of the last five years have been nothing short of destructive. The majority of retailers and processors appear to lack any strategy and although they pay lip service to the idea of working with the farming community, it is always the dairy farmer that ends up paying the price when markets soften.

“If retailers and processors are serious about wanting a joined-up supply chain, they must be more willing to share the current pain rather than seek to maintain their margins”.

The TFA is also supporting the Farmers For Action (FFA) campaign to encourage the Government to distribute surplus dairy products to the needy through food banks.

“The current trade restrictions enforced by Russia against certain EU dairy products is contributing to the collapse in dairy prices. Although the EU has signalled support for private storage aid, whatever is put into store will overhang the market and will have to come out at some stage. A distribution scheme which provided the opportunity to offload surplus product now would be much better for the long term. I would therefore encourage everyone to sign the petition that FFA has sponsored on the HM Government e-petition website,” said Mr Wyrill.