Dairy UK has launched its campaign to promote the industry’s range of benefits with some strong political backing.
Farming minister George Eustice was the first of several MPs to sign up in support of the Dairy Makes a Difference initiative at a House of Commons reception.
The campaign will try to show the public how the industry creates healthy products, jobs and environmental benefits, and Dairy UK will publish a white paper about the links between public health and dairy products.
It will also work to stop the mixed signals coming from government departments, as DEFRA’s promotion of British farming has clashed with health campaigns knocking products like cheese and yoghurt.
Dairy UK chief executive Judith Bryans said the campaign had received a strong and constructive response so far.
“The campaign is a unique opportunity for politicians to tell us in their own words why and how dairy matters.
“In order to build an enduring and successful dairy industry fit for the future, we need to work collaboratively across the supply chain and with government.”
Mr Eustice said dairy farming had a really positive future and good work had begun on improving the health messages around its products.
“Milk quotas are about to end,” he said. “It is a fantastic opportunity for the UK industry.”
“Increasingly, we are getting far better as a country at adding value to our milk. We are seeing more and more [export] markets being developed.
“I am aware that dairy products can be a really healthy part of a balanced diet. And there has now been a dairy partnership development between the industry and the Department for Health.”
Former dairy farmer Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, hosted the launch.
He said dairy farmers could play a role in the country’s economic recovery and were the managers of the countryside’s environment, so they needed to be paid sustainable prices.
“Farmers need that 32-34p/litre because the price of fertiliser and feed are still high,” Mr Parish said.
Dairy UK wants politicians, business and members of the public to show their support by signing up at www.dairymakesadifference.org