Farming leaders from across the industry have urged retailers to pay dairy farmers a fair price for milk or risk ruining the future of the industry.

Organisations including the NFU, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru and the FUW have written to retailers and food service industry to call for action to secure Britain’s milk supplies.

In the letter, the organisations said retailers, discounters and the food industry need to help increase confidence among dairy farmers to stop them leaving the sector.

Everyone in the milk supply chain needs to make a fair profit and retailers needed to stop gambling with the security of milk supplies, it said.

“Our message is very simple. If you want to guarantee a supply of quality British milk, cheese and dairy products you must take steps to secure it,” it added.

The industry-wide group asked retailers and food service companies to commit to sourcing British dairy products, as well as using transparent pricing mechanisms to offer sustainable milk prices.

It also asked them to promote the Red Tractor logo on all own-label and British dairy products.

Jimmy Mitchell, NFUS chairman, said the British dairy industry depended on effective supply chains that ensured fair returns for all involved.

“Only when this becomes a reality will producers have the confidence and enthusiasm to invest and reverse the decline in production.”

Lyndon Edwards, RABDF chairman, added: “British dairy farmers must receive a fair and sustainable price for their milk immediately; otherwise consumers will not have the option to buy fresh British milk in future.”