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Dairy farmers express concern

dairycowALED JONES, NFU Cymru Milk Board Chairman, met with local dairy farmers at an on-farm meeting of the Ceredigion NFU Cymru county branch recently. The meeting was kindly hosted by Des Jones and family at Pantgwyn Farm near Synod Inn. Speaking at the meeting, Aled Jones, a dairy farmer from Caernarfon said: “We are experiencing significant cuts in farmgate milk prices due to a slump in the values of global dairy commodities.

We’ve also seen a spike in milk production here in Wales as well as in other parts of the UK, across Europe and in all of the other major milk producing areas of the globe. The volatility that we’re now seeing is fast becoming a growing challenge to us as dairy farmers and impacts on our confidence and ability to invest in our businesses.” Mr Jones added: “It’s natural for dairy farmers to feel some uncertainty about the current situation but there’s still much for us to be positive about as milk producers.

We continue to see the global population growing rapidly and there will be demand for dairy products, particularly within the fast growing economies of China and other parts of South East Asia. With the favourable climatic conditions that we have here in Wales for growing grass and forage crops and to produce milk sustainably, the long-term prospects appear to be positive; however we will need to get through this difficult period before we see a better future for our industry.”

Mr Jones continued: “The whole of the dairy supply chain, along with government, must work together to grow the market for dairy products. As well as increasing the amount of Welsh and British dairy produce on our supermarket shelves, we need to build new markets for milk products overseas. There are massive opportunities to increase the export potential of our dairy produce and we need to see both UK and Welsh governments focusing on trade capacity building and to look at developing new trading opportunities in Asia and further afield.”

Ceredigion NFU Cymru County Milk Chairman, John Davies, a dairy farmer from Silian near Lampeter said: “Milk and other dairy products are an important source of key nutrients including high quality protein, energy, and many essential minerals and vitamins. I feel strongly that far more should be done here in Wales and across the UK to promote the health and nutritional benefits of milk and dairy products, especially amongst infants and schoolchildren. Children are very impressionable and what they learn to eat and drink when they’re young can have an effect on their dietary habits throughout their lives.”