3 January 2002
Haverfordwest cheese plant to stay

By Robert Harris, business editor

DAIRY Crest and First Milk have announced a new joint venture operation to run Haverfordwest Cheese, much to the relief of local farmers.

The two companies signed agreements on 31 December.

First Milk has purchased a 20% stake in the business, securing the dairys position as a major cheese and whey producer.

Farmers in the region had feared Haverfordwest might share the same fate as several local liquid milk plants.

These were closed when Dairy Crest decided to centralise production at Severnside.

The Farmers Union of Wales welcomed the 17 million investment.

“This is excellent news for the 85 workers at the Haverfordwest factory and all the dairy farmers in West Wales who supply them with their milk,” said Robert Voyle, chairman of the FUWs Milk and Dairy Produce Committee.

The joint venture will handle more than 210 million litres of milk a year from west Wales producers.

Drummond Hall, Dairy Crests executive managing director, said: “It clearly demonstrates our commitment to the plant and the region.

“It secures cheese production and added-value product development at the site in the long term.”

First Milk chairman John Duncan said it was a “tremendously exciting” development for his 4000 members who wanted a greater involvement in milk processing.

“This is also a significant development for our industry with co-operation being demonstrated between the UKs largest dairy processor and the largest dairy farmers supply organisation,” he added.