CHESHIRE’S dairy farmers are facing a drop in the farm gate price paid for their milk.
The 2p per litre cut by milk processors, due in June, is said to leave farmers 3 to 4 pence per litre adrift of the actual cost of production, costing a typical dairy farm up to £20,000 a year.
The county branch of the National Farmers Union (NFU) has held an emergency meeting with Eddisbury MP Stephen O’Brien in what is described as a fight to stop milk processors ‘exploiting’ dairy farmers.
Mr O'Brien met with six south Cheshire farmers at short notice to listen to their concerns about the cut and how it affects all dairy farmers in the county.
Following the meeting, NFU county chairman Rob Ford said: “Mr O’Brien has spoken to minister of state for agriculture and food Jim Paice who assured him that pressure is being put on the processors to change their ways.
“We let Mr O’Brien know that up until recently the dairy industry had seen 10 years of decline with nearly 50% of dairy farmers ceasing milk production.
“Confidence had returned to the sector, but the recent 2p per litre cuts could signal the start of another exodus.”
Mr O’Brien added: “The sharp decrease in milk prices with such short notice is an immediate crisis for my dairy farmers without whose products none of us would enjoy milk and dairy based products.
“Dairy farmers take a lot of risk on our behalf and I am working with my government colleagues to get a fair return secured for farmers.”
Nationally the NFU argues that dairy farmers ‘are already struggling’.
Prices are said to be falling due to a worldwide surplus of milk.