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Five point dairy action plan

12/07/2012

A five-point action plan to tackle pricing issues affecting the dairy industry was today unveiled by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.

Mr Lochhead also told today’s meeting with representatives of NFU Scotland that he has called for a summit with his UK and Welsh colleagues which would take place in advance of the Royal Welsh Show.

The meeting with the NFUS representatives was part of Mr Lochhead’s continuing efforts to address the current pricing crisis and to find ways to better support Scotland’s dairy farmers who are facing plummeting prices at a time of rising costs.

Today’s meeting follows hard on the heels of a public meeting in Westminster where farmers from across the UK voiced their concerns at the latest round of milk price cuts.

The five-point plan includes:

* Calling for a ministerial summit to discuss the current situation and establish a timetable for consulting on legislation

* Asking Defra Minister Jim Paice to appoint an independent objective facilitator to assist with the current negotiations between producers and processors in an effort to agree a voluntary code of practice

* Writing to retailers demanding clarity for consumers about how much producers receive for their milk

* Commissioning a long-term strategic review to establish where the dairy industry wants to be in 10 years and how to get there

* Ensuring the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) have sufficient resources to accelerate their existing work on producer organisations and co-operatives

Mr Lochhead said:

"This afternoon’s meeting with the NFUS was constructive but only served to further highlight the need for urgent action to tackle the issue of dairy prices. I was left in no doubt about the anger and frustration our dairy farmers are feeling and I can understand why they feel so aggrieved.

"I’ve been working hard to find a solution that better meets the needs of our dairy farmers and today’s meeting with the NFUS was part of that. We must find a way to maximise the potential of this sector while also ensuring farmers are paid a fair price for a valuable product.

"I am clear that every part of the supply chain has a part to play in finding a solution to the current problem, including retailers and supermarkets.

"We all drink milk and we need the dairy industry to continue and we must not risk letting it crumble. I know that consumers are right behind the milk industry."