Due to the falling price of milk, dairy farmers are struggling more than ever, this is in spite of the fact that many supermarkets are short on cow milking machines. Freshways, the UK’s main milk processor, states that the cut of 2p-per-litre is unfortunate. However, a drop in the trade with other businesses such as coffee shops and pubs forces the issue. Peter Pratt, a farmer in Staffordshire, states that this is after he lost 65 percent of his crops due to floods. The government considers the issue a matter of “urgency”.
Freshways has deferred payments to farmers until at least May 15th, after the decline per Bali Najjar. NFU (National Farmer’s Union), chairman Michael Oakes, states that many dairy farmers are really vulnerable during this volatile situation. Pratt, a beef, dairy, and arable farmer, employs six on his farm in Rugeley and his family-run farm has been very hard hit.
Nearly a quarter of the farmers in the UK have become financially unviable due to the reduced demand for milk and the drop in prices. Farmers are facing a crisis in the UK and they’re calling for the government to help them after this coronavirus pandemic has left restaurants, canteens, and hotels to close.
At the moment, 25 percent of businesses aren’t viable per Michael Oakes, chairman of the Union’s Dairy Board. There are many who are staring at a cliff and there doesn’t seem to be any support.
Milk processors normally cater to food services and unfortunately, they’ve had prices drastically cut. Orders have been dropping steadily and the annual spring peak of milk production is in jeopardy. This means that as many as 10,000 dairy farmers are losing money at a steady rate right now. These businesses were very successful prior to the pandemic. Farming representatives have been engaged in emergency talks with the government in regards to the situation.
Dairy farmers are just one of the sectors that are struggling. Fruit and vegetable farming is also suffering due to a labour shortage, red meat demand is also dropping and this too hurts the farming industry.
George Eustice states we understand that our dairies are in jeopardy and we understand their concerns. This is why were suspending the competition and working to urge farms to access loans that are currently available to help support them during this trying time.
However, dairy farmers state that they are also struggling to access bank lending and the existing forms of government support as coronavirus has hit hard.
Milk cooperative foods such as Arla, state that there has been an increase in the demand from consumers that have been able to increase milk supplies to the local supermarkets and this has greatly simplified the business.
Ash Amirahmadi, managing director, states that he spoke to the government and that they’re working diligently to rework the framework to allow for more cooperation.
A spokesperson for Defra states that they’re aware of the need to redirect and adjust the orders in the hospitality market and that the matter is urgent.