The UK dairy industry will need unstinting support of the Government during 2015 if it is to realise its full potential and successfully overcome the effects of the current market volatility, Dairy UK Chairman Billy Keane said today in his forecast for the year ahead.

Mr Keane also stated that it is imperative that the industry works together constructively in order to forge a successful future.

He said: “Difficult global market conditions are set to continue for several months before the situation gets better. The challenges faced by the UK dairy industry in 2014 will continue into 2015 affecting both farmers and processors so it is imperative that we work together.

“The UK dairy industry has a strong long-term future to look forward to but to ensure it’s in a position to take full advantage of the opportunities that will arise, it will need all the help it can get from Government.

“Dairy UK will be publishing its own manifesto soon setting out what the industry expects of the main political parties as they prepare to fight the forthcoming general election in May.

“Ahead of that, my message to political parties is fundamentally that Governments at European and national level can make a difference and do a lot to help one of the UK’s great industries.

“At the top of the list of things we would like Government to focus on is to step up the support for British dairy products – recognising their nutritional qualities and encouraging consumers to buy our products.

“Our industry is a UK success story employing a large number of people across the supply chain. The capital investment by the leading dairy companies has more than doubled over the last decade from £105 million to £265 million. There has also been substantial investment on dairy farms.

“The latest Dairy UK Environmental Benchmarking Report showed that dairy processors have achieved an 8% increase in energy efficiency since 2008, meaning they are on track to meet the Climate Change Agreements and Dairy Roadmap 2020 targets. We know that dairy farmers are also making significant strides forward in making in the environmental arena.

“Animal health and welfare is important to farmers, processors and consumers alike. Johne’s disease places a significant financial burden on the industry. The Action Group on Johne’s will strive to take the industry forward with the launch of a new management plan in the spring.

“At Dairy UK, we take great pride in our industry and in 2015 we will be bringing the European dairy industry to our shores to showcase its potential post quota. We fully recognise that 2015 will be an eventful year for dairy and we looking forward to working constructively with Government and dairy farming representatives to ensure that the industry prevail and succeed in these challenging times.”