NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison is urging European dairy farmer representatives, traders and European Commission officials to agree fair proposals for private storage aid as well as robust ways to limit the impact of falling commodity prices and the recent Russian import ban on dairy products.

“It is vital that I can represent UK dairy farmers in Brussels and push for appropriate and relevant action from the European Commission, in response to the critical price collapse we’ve seen in dairy commodity values,” said Mr Harrison.

{pull-quote}”I am calling for four things to be done which could help secure the short and long-term viability of our dairy industry, including private storage aid measures to include cheese as well as skimmed milk powder and butter; for product to be kept in store for at least a year to reduce the risk of collapsing the market while the Russian ban is still in effect; for the Commission to focus on promotion of EU dairy products in important growing export markets; and for the commission to investigate ways to release product from storage, that minimises the impact on the domestic market place.

“Creating a commercial and political environment in which British dairy farmers can compete globally has always been the focus of the NFU. In July 2013 we launched ‘Compete to Grow’, our vision for the future of the dairy industry. At that time farmers were receiving market signals and favourable conditions to grow their output. Despite this growth, the UK market is still in deficit and below its quota ceiling. Depressed prices now are a result of wider global factors, which have depressed global commodity values.

“Compete to Grow challenges the entire UK dairy supply chain to seize the opportunities for global market growth that lie ahead by ensuring our industry is competitive and seeking new markets. These principles are echoed by the UK dairy industry’s ‘Leading the Way’ strategy, which is endorsed by around 50 dairy organisations, processors, retailers, banks and consultants.”

Mr Harrison was taking part in discussions today and yesterday.