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Farmers lobby Government on milk price reforms
CHESHIRE farmers met officials in Westminster at a ‘dairy summit’ on Wednesday to discuss the threat facing the region’s milk producers.
Farmers across county have reported that the amount they receive for milk has fallen beyond what it costs to produce.
MP for Eddisbury, Stephen O’Brien, joined National Farmers Union chairman, Rob Ford and 2,000 others at Central Hall in London to lobby Farming Minister Jim Paice.
Following the meeting, MP Caroline Spellman, secretary of state for the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), announced a range of measures to help milk producers.
They included £5 million of extra Rural Economy Grant funding to support innovations in faming, and the creation of a groceries code adjudicator to protect suppliers by ensuring large retailers uphold standards set out in the new Groceries Supply Code of Practice bill.
The Government said they were also working with the milk industry to develop a voluntary code of practice between dairy farmers and purchasers, to establish improved contracts and greater price transparency.
They reaffirmed their support of the EU dairy package - which allows farmers to come together and negotiate milk prices.
Ms Spellman also said the Government were pressing ahead with implementing the 200 changes suggested by the McDonald review to cut red tape and bureaucracy in farming.
Mr O’Brien said: “The strength and determination of the Cheshire dairy farmers in coming down in such numbers to lobby in Westminster is the best possible reinforcement for those of us relentlessly making the arguments how to find tangible support for the plight of dairy farmers.
“My discussion with Rob Ford again highlighted both the challenges and what possibilities there are for finding a fair deal for Cheshire dairy farmers. We all share the responsibility to underpin and support the key industry of our local communities.”