20 April 2000
Scots farmers bid to lift milk prices

By Shelley Wright

SCOTLANDS dairy farmers agree that they need better milk prices. But how to achieve the goal remains a mystery.

Milk producers from the south-west have been invited to a union meeting next week in Castle Douglas, Dumfriesshire, to try to take the discussion forward.

Among the speakers will be John Loftus, the English dairy farmer behind the proposed new umbrella group the UK Federation of Milk Producers.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear how the Scottish Executive plans to execute a 50,000 study into the problems facing Scotlands dairy industry.

Scottish NFU leaders last week met more than 30 dairy farmers who represented producers selling to all the main milk buyers in Scotland.

Union president Jim Walker, who has challenged dairy farmers to work together, said co-operation and collaboration were the only solutions.

But while the union was prepared to help forward any constructive ideas from groups or individuals, the final decision lay with milk producers, he added.

If they wanted to continue selling to numerous outlets then there was little the Scottish NFU could do to help, Mr Walker said.

“If we are to help to deliver change, there must be a willingness by producers to take responsibility for this change.”

Farmers at the meeting agreed on the need for a common solution to the current low prices but no other progress was made.