03 April 1998
Consultancy to prepare dairymens
case for agri-money

THE dairy industry has commissioned Shandwick consultancy to prepare a brief which can be presented to Government to secure immediate agri-money relief under European Union rules.

Dairy farmers face impending disaster because milk prices are as low as 18ppl ex-farm, a meeting between the Milk Forum and other interested groups heard.

Jack Pirie, managing director of Scottish Milk, said afterwards that most dairy farmers expected their incomes to decline further. He said the strength of the Pound was the main culprit.

He noted there were signs that many farmers were giving up the struggle, especially in the north. But Pirie said industrial action was not an attractive prospect. He thought it could backfire and alienate consumers even though that did not happen with beef protests.

Robert Wiseman Dairies chairman Alan Wiseman warned if there were not changes in the medium term there would be “a massive restructuring…with brutal consequences.”

The Scotsman includes an article by dairy farmer Jim Webster, whose personal farm income has fallen from £16,000 on his 60-cow farm between 1994-1996 to £4,000 this financial year just finishing.

He said it could only be a matter of time before dairy farming was concentrated in a few large herds, tied directly to the supermarkets.

  • The Scotsman 03/04/98 page 28