Defra secretary Liz Truss has met with the NFU’s dairy team to discuss ways to mitigate the ongoing milk crisis.
Ms Truss held talks with NFU president Meurig Raymond and dairy board chairman Rob Harrison on Friday (7 November).
Mr Raymond described the talks as a “constructive exchange” and said a number of positive steps were identified for Defra, the NFU and the dairy industry as a whole concerning ways of easing the volatility in the milk sector.
He said the government could do little about commodity price shifts, but was heartened by Ms Truss’ enthusiasm to listen to the industry on areas where they can make a difference.
“There are areas where we can work together with Defra on promotion, labelling, public procurement and taxation to ensure we reach that bright future I want all our dairy farmers to be a part of,” said Mr Raymond
“The secretary of state, like the NFU, recognised that long term there is a positive future for the dairy sector and she is keen to work with us to help it reach its potential.”
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Top of the agenda was increasing the export potential of UK dairy and the NFU said it was pleased to see Defra investing in trade capacity building in Asia and finding new trading opportunities further afield.
The NFU would also encourage government to tackle some of the barriers put in place to traditional markets.
The minister agreed to raise NFU concerns on misleading origin labelling on British dairy products with EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan when she meets him this week, given that origin labelling on dairy products is soon to be discussed at the European level.
And the NFU stressed the UK government should continue to support country-of-origin labelling.
NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison added: “The dairy board will help government identify the areas they can help the dairy sector. But we’ll also continue with our work in helping farmers manage volatility, including developing different, innovative contract options, continuing our work on futures markets and increase farmer collaboration.”