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Leading union predicts farm losses for area

 
Created on 07/10/2010 @ 11:32
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A leading union is predicting the demise of dairy farmers in the Welshpool area if milk prices continue to fall.

There are already 700 less dairy farms in Wales since 1996 and the steep decline will continue as long as supermarkets continue to take a bigger share of the profits from milk sales, the Farmers' Union of Wales has warned.
 
New figures released by DairyCo revealed dairy farmers in Wales and England received an average 23.8p per litre for their milk during 2009/2010 compared to 25.8p the previous year. But the retailers' share of the price went up from 18.8p to 22.4p.
 
"These figures underline our fears for the traditional Welsh dairy farm which has declined sharply in numbers from 2,727 in 2006 to 2,094 last year," said the union's milk and dairy produce committee chairman Eifion Huws.
 
“And compounding the problem is the fact that the average farmgate price paid to Welsh farmers is actually much lower than the Wales-England average, because the majority of our milk goes into the cheese market.”
 
"We now have to ask whether the prices paid to Welsh dairy farmers are sufficient to give them a sustainable return to enable them to invest in their business and continue to supply milk in an efficient and profitable manner.
 
"The Welsh dairy farm has been the backbone of community life in much of rural Wales for years and years but these figures don't provide any comfort for the future.
 
"I fear that the decline in dairy farm numbers will continue until there is a change of heart by the retailers and they start paying producers the kind of prices they badly need to allow them to fully meet their costs and invest for the future."

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