10 September 1998
More Farmers Ferry trips to meet demand?

By Jonathan Riley

THE Farmers Ferry may have to increase the number of Channel crossings to four a week to cope with demand which has seen exports rise from 17,000 to about 40,000 a week since the first voyage four weeks ago.

The firms farmer directors had their first sight of the ferry when they visited Dover last week and were pleased with their efforts and the support of farmers which, they say, has led to the initial success of the venture.

“I cant believe what has been achieved in only three months,” said company treasurer and sheep producer Stewart Morris. “We now have almost 5000 members who have raised £0.75m – half of the target total.”

Although the number of members was disappointing, a changing attitude amongst the more sceptical producers was encouraging, he added. “Those who have already joined up are urging their neighbours to do the same,” he says. “At some markets, members want to see lists published of farmers who have paid up so that it is obvious who has supported the ferry and who has not.”

 
 
 Farmers Ferry director John Lloyd inspects another load for France

Company secretary David Owen said that taking 40,000 sheep out of the market each week would have an impact on supply and sent the message to supermarkets and government that farmers could pull together.

During their visit directors received a further boost when the National Sheep Association reached agreement with the ferry owners on welfare guidelines.