Milk momentum must continue
Rural Affairs Secretary has commended Scottish farmers for their work over the 'SOS dairy' campaign to highlight the below production price they receive for milk.
Speaking at a rally organised by National Farmers Union Scotland in Lanark today - which was attended by some 500 farmers - Mr Lochhead announced £100,000 backing towards the ‘Dairy Farmers Together’ initiative. The Scottish Agricultural Organisations Society will take forward this development, with the aim of supporting farmers to cooperate and negotiate collectively through the creation of local producer organisations.
Mr Lochhead said:
"It's ludicrous that our dairy farmers are paid less than the cost of production for each and every pint of milk. Therefore I congratulate Scottish farmers for the dignified way in which they have carried out the campaign to highlight this untenable situation, which has captured the public's imagination.
"I fully support these efforts and believe the plans for collaboration can help underpin meaningful change. That's why today I'm announcing £100,000 to support this farmer-led initiative to be established as soon as possible.
"I've been in regular dialogue with the UK government and the retailers to press for action. And I'm pleased that in recent days we have seen positive movement. However, the proof of the pudding will be in who gets the cream. We need meaningful and lasting change - not temporary measures.
"The progress achieved in the campaign for a fair deal for dairy farmers is commendable. That momentum must be maintained and I'll be doing all that I can to ensure that's the case.
"That includes exploring legislative changes, which we will be consulting on in the Autumn. I am also writing to all public sector suppliers to ask that they ensure that appropriate and responsible milk sourcing is in place across the whole sector.
"All our hard working dairy farmers are asking for is their fair share to keep their businesses viable - and we need all parts of the supply chain to work together on this."