23 September 1998
Gill urges dairy men to strengthen marketing

By FWi Staff

DAIRY farmers need to strengthen their marketing skills if they want to capitalise on producing the best-quality milk in Europe, NFU president Ben Gill said today (Wednesday).

“Farmers are not strong sellers, and need to look at ways they can improve their marketing,” Mr Gill told listeners at the European Dairy Event at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.

“Producers must make sure they get a better profit. Our milk quality is the best in Europe and we must therefore make UK milk production as large as possible.”

With milk prices dropping by more than 30% and bank borrowings increasing, many farmers are left wondering what lies in store for their industry. For many, the future is bleak.

“Cull cows used to be an excellent pension fund for dairy farmers, but with the poor cull prices on offer since the crisis, farmers have lost this income,” said Mr Gill.

Mr Gill urged farmers to think seriously about the future, especially as quotas could be phased out after 2006. He said farmers should stick to what they know best and produce milk as cheaply as possible.

“We are unable to produce rice, tobacco, olive oil and wine, but we are capable of producing grass both well and efficiently.”

Mr Gill stressed that excess costs must be stripped out of the dairy industry to allow everyone their share of possible profits. There is no room in the millennium for anyone not producing milk efficiently, he said.

“We need to move from being price-takers to price-debaters. Unless the issues of dairy profitability are addressed by all of the dairy industry, it will shrink further in years to come.”