19 September 2001
Think-tank future for bulk tanks?

By FWi staff

BRITISH dairy farmers face a future where they will have to produce milk without subsidies or quotas, an influential industry leader has warned.

Tim Brigstocke, chairman of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, said many producers must change their way of thinking if they are to survive.

Unless farmers act, their future will be determined by non-farming pressure groups, he told listeners at the annual Dairy Event on Wednesday (19 September).

“Let us be in no doubt too that the case we put forward must be based on the political, economic and public interest realities we so clearly face.

“The over-my-dead body approach to change taken by many before the introduction of quotas is simply not an option.

“Instead we have to accept a few home truths. We will, for instance, have to produce milk without subsidy or quotas.

“We will also have to produce it to increasingly stringent hygiene standards; in ways increasingly acceptable to the non-farming public.”

Mr Brigstocke acknowledged that such strict market conditions would not be a particularly heart-warming prospect for most of the industry.

“But it is a challenge which, given the right assistance and support, I have no doubt British dairy farming will rise to admirably,” he said.

The association has set up a number of independent think-tanks to investigate the most crucial issues facing milk producers

A group examining milk productions without quotas will include up to 10 representatives from throughout the food chain who will be appointed shortly.

It is expected to be up and running within a month and its report should be available by the end of November, said Mr Brigstocke.

Further think tanks in this project will include getting the most out of the milk market and restoring public confidence in dairy products.