Livestock 2012: Dairy future remains top of agenda

The future direction of the dairy sector will almost certainly be the key topic for many producers attending Livestock 2012, following two turbulent months for the sector.

The event, held at the NEC Birmingham on 4 and 5 September, has been widened this year to cover all livestock species.

However, the issue of how to get the milk sector on a more sustainable basis is expected to be a major talking point, reflecting the event’s origins as the Dairy Event.

Members of the coalition fighting for a fairer deal for milk producers, the NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland, FFA, TFA, WFU and RABDF are expected to give an update on the latest situation at a briefing on Tuesday afternoon (4 September).

The National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs is also set to unveil a petition calling for a ‘profitable, sustainable dairy industry’ to ensure that young people have a future in the sector.

The petition, which has also won the backing of the NFU, is aimed at both farmers and consumers.

Helen Reeve, NFYFC agriculture chairman said:  “Those who have taken part in the many protests across the country and at the Dairy Summit at Westminster have helped to highlight the issue of farm gate milk prices. It’s important that we keep fighting for a fair price for milk to ensure that dairy farming is not a forgotten sector of UK agriculture.”

Milk processors, who are all exhibiting at the show, will also be under the spotlight with farmers suppliers keen to know what their future prospects look like.

The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, which organises Livestock 2012, said the news released on the eve of the show that Arla had launched a new milk sourcing policy should create a precedent for other companies to follow suit.

“Arla’s announcement is good news for all dairy producers and it reflects the processor’s response to consumer concerns for farmers’ future which have been successfully raised by the coalition in the last three months,” said RABDF chairman, David Cotton.

“We also commend Arla for announcing its plans for a comprehensive study in to the cost of production drivers. This is very timely since we are to shortly re-launch the RABDF Independent Guidelines for Dairy Costing Schemes which will revisit the the true cost of milk production including farmers own salary, family labour and pension allowance. We are looking forward to the opportunity to working with Arla.”

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