FUW milk committee boss ponders quitting industry

The chairman of the Farmers Union of Wales’s milk committee is considering quitting the industry.

Eifion Huws, who runs 140 pedigree Ayrshires at Bodedern, Anglesey, told a Royal Welsh Show press conference that his son was heartbroken that the move was even being considered.

“I can’t see any alternative,” said Mr Huws, a recently elected FUW vice-president.

“The farm-gate price of milk has dropped by 35% since 1996 and 15% in the last five years.

But since 2001, fertiliser costs have risen by around 22%, feed is up 10% and red diesel has increased by some 300%.

“Water and electricity charges are also subject to big increases, and there are the additional costs connected to the huge amounts of time spent form-filling.”

Mr Huws attacked buyers for continuing to cut prices, adding that nobody should be surprised by survey evidence that 14% of producers planned to get out of milk within two years.

“If this happens, it will have a colossal effect on the industry and the environment.

I urge every farmer and consumer to join the FUW in backing the ‘send a postcard to Blair’ campaign initiated by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes”.

Marylyn Haines Evans, chair of the Federations of Wales, agreed that if farmers continued to receive unfair prices, the British dairy industry would be “a thing of the past”.

She hoped that thousands of showgoers would show their support for efforts to persuade the government to make farming a priority to ensure consumers should not have to depend on food imports.

A new watchdog was needed to oversee the industry so that all parties in the food chain received a fair price.

Dai Davies, NFU Cymru president, warned that Welsh milk producers, who contributed 30% of the principality’s farming gross domestic product, were in a state of despair as they buckled under the pressure on the farmgate price of milk and rising input costs.

“If nothing happens to redress the problems by the autumn, we will see the industry evaporating before our eyes,” warned Mr Davies.


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