ABOUT 80 dairy farmers who attended a dairy crisis summit organised by Simon Hart MP have agreed on an action plan. The meeting at the Hotel Plas Hyfryd in Narberth was attended by local producers, Welsh Secretary of State Stephen Crabb, chairman of the all-party dairy group Neil Parish MP and Andy Richardson, chairman of the Welsh Government’s review of the dairy industry.
Also present were representatives from farming unions and action group Farmers for Action. “We had a good robust conversation that covered many different aspects of the dairy industry,” said Mr Hart. It was agreed that a document will now be submitted to the Welsh and the Westminster governments covering the role and effectiveness of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and whether it can it be strengthened and improved.
It will also press the government to improve procurement from UK producers and ask whether government can use influence to get more secure contract system between producers, processors and retailers. Other important points that will be raised are intervention, credit guarantee systems and tax balancing – where tax bills can be settled over a 12 month period. Mr Hart added: “This was a useful meeting which provided an opportunity for local farmers to speak direct to the Westminster Cabinet and the Welsh Government review team.
“We were able to make a distinction between what can be done, what must be done and what is outside the control of the UK. The dairy industry in our area is a vital part of the economy employing thousands of people directly and indirectly as well as shaping and maintaining the landscape. It deserves our support.”