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First Milk welcome Tesco deal

Every little helps: Dairy farmers
Every little helps: Dairy farmers

AS THE wintery weather continues to take hold, Tesco has announced it will extend its industry-leading support for British dairy farmers.

Six months ago, Tesco announced it would provide additional financial provision for farmers who produce milk that goes into its own label cheddar cheese products.

The winter supplement payment was initially intended to conclude at the end of February, but given the inclement weather and challenges faced by First Milk farmers during these uncertain times in the dairy market, Tesco is pleased to announce the payment will now be extended to support the farmers through to spring.

Through the work of the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group (TSDG) and its collaborative partnerships with dairy farmers, Tesco recognises how challenging the winter months can be – particularly for non-TSDG producers -and has made this investment to give them further additional financial assistance until April 17 2016 to help them cover their production costs.

Commercial Director for Fresh Foods and Commodities Matt Simister said: “Helping to create a sustainable dairy industry is integral to how we partner with British Agriculture. Tesco has a long history of supporting dairy farmers and is proud of the sourcing relationships we have with them.

“We recognise that it is a particularly challenging and uncertain time in the global dairy market, which is why over the past six months, we have provided additional financial support to help our First Milk farmers.

“With the effects of the winter still being felt across the country, we are delighted to announce we have extended the supplement.”

Mike Gallacher, First Milk’s CEO said: “First Milk would like to thank Tesco again for their support with the Winter Supplement and welcome the news that this will be extended for a further six week period. Consumers clearly want their retailers to pay sustainable prices for British dairy products – in both cheese and milk – and Tesco, under Dave Lewis, have taken a leadership position. They deserve a great deal of credit for continuing to support British farmers who supply the milk that makes Tesco’s cheese.”

Dairy farmers from across the UK will also receive a further boost, with the move to one hundred per cent British milk for all Tesco own label standard yoghurts from the 1 March. This will see Tesco increase the amount of British milk in its standard range yoghurts from two-thirds and will help increase the demand for milk from farms across the whole country.

As a result of Tesco’s change of policy, the winter supplement payment which was due to cease on February 28, 2016, will now be extended until April 17, 2016.

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Tesco has supported First Milk farmers supplying their Haverfordwest Creamery through this period by paying First Milk the base TSDG price for the milk that goes into their cheese. This price will continue to be 29.58ppl and will be reflected in the cheese price that Tesco pays to the processor.

First Milk will distribute this additional income across its farmers, and will be able to provide an audit to demonstrate that farmers have received this additional payment.

From March 2016, all Tesco own label standard tier yoghurt will be made with milk sourced from Britain with the exception of those with protected origins – including authentic Greek Yoghurt and French Fromage Frais.