Prince Charles backs dairy farmer support

Dairy farmers are to be given advice and support to help improve their profitability, as part of a new initiative backed by the Prince of Wales.

The project – run by The Prince’s Rural Action Programme, which is a Business in the Community campaign – aims to reduce the decline in the number of dairy farms.

The first stage of the project focuses on a pilot scheme to deliver a package of business support and advice to selected farmers through a series of practical workshops to help improve their profitability and quality of life.

The workshops will be run by leading experts in the dairy sector.

Approximately 100 farms across five regions in Britain have been invited to participate in the pilot and will take part in their first introductory session through November and December.

The farmers involved will benchmark their cost of production through DairyCo’s Milkbench+ system, work with experts on opportunities to reduce costs and improve performance and develop a network with other local farmers with whom they can share knowledge and best practice.

Eligible participants have been selected from farms within a 30-mile radius of Castle Douglas, Narberth, Ellesmere, Buxton and Langport. The farms have between 40-200 cows, on a standard milk contract and most importantly, do not normally have access to this kind of support.

Dairying must be the main commercial occupation of the farm business.

Mark Allen, chairman of the RAP, said: “The initiative is being driven by the Prince of Wales, for whom the future of dairying in the UK has been a long held concern. With his help I am delighted to say that we have managed to get unanimous support across the dairy sector to support our proposed project work.

“The decline in the number of dairy farms in the UK clearly has a knock-on effects for the sustainability of the dairy sector, but also for the fabric of the rural economy and the countryside.

“This is a priority for the programme and we have tasked a dairy sector working group with developing a practical programme to help address the issue.”