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NFU boss backs milk crisis

The new president of the national farmers union of Scotland was in Dumfries and Galloway today to give assurances that the dairy industry will be a key concern for him.

Allan Bowie was sworn into his new post last month, and now he's looking forward to giving farmers in our region the best deal they can for selling their milk.

Our reporter Fiona McIlwraith went along to meet him.


David Mundell: dairy industry needs support

MP David Mundell has asked banks and retailers to support the dairy industry Credit: PA

David Mundell has called on banks and retailers to support the dairy industry until it comes out of the current surplus in supply.

The MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale, and Tweeddale argues that is in nobody's interests to see local dairy farmers go out of business as milk prices slump.

" I have written to Chief Executives of all the major Scottish Banks and retailers asking that they bear with and support local dairy farmers during this very difficult time.

"There is no benefit in seeing dairy farmers being driven out of business because of short term difficulties due to global oversupply, with the result that when the price recovers we don't have a viable industry left locally or in the UK."

– David Mundell, MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

His comments come as MPs in Westminster argue that dairy farmers in the UK need more protection from over-supply and falling prices.

MPs call for protection of British farmers

Britain's dairy farmers need greater protection, according to MPs Credit: PA

The Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has called for the protection of dairy farmers in the UK, as the low price of dairy products continue to cause problems.

The total number of UK dairy famers fell to below 10,000 for the first time in December, as declining prices of dairy products proved unsustainable for some.

Prices have fallen over the last year as supply has outstripped demand.

The decrease in demand is due in part to decreasing exportation to China and to Russia, following its ban on European dairy products, implemented in response to actions taken in Ukraine.

The MPs' comments come a week after some farmers in the country were forced to wait for payment from the UK's biggest milk supplier.

Farmers in the Borders have been protesting low prices over the last few months.

New initiative to fill skills shortage in dairy sector

A new project to help fill a skills shortage in the dairy industry is being launched in Dumfries and Galloway.

Farm owners and school leavers are being encouraged to take part in the scheme and help develop the next generation of farmers.

Young people will be paid for the work they do and it's hoped they'll develop a life long passion for the industry.

Lori Carnochan has been to a farm to find out more.


'Dairy Skills Initiative' to help young people

The project will help young people learn more about dairy farming Credit: PA

A new project to help address skills shortages in the dairy sector in Dumfries and Galloway has been launched.

Young people just leaving school with no previous farm experience will be offered 12 week placements on a local farm under the 'Dairy Skills Initiative' set up by Scotland's Rural College and NFU Scotland.

Trainees will get involved in the wide range of practical work involved in running a busy dairy farm.

New milking parlour to provide a great resource for college students

Lord Curry of Kirkharle, the Bishop of Carlisle, representatives from the farming industry and college dignitaries were among four hundred guests welcomed to Newton Rigg's Penrith campus to celebrate the new Dairy Unit's official opening.

Newton Rigg's restocked Dairy Herd was wiped out in 2001 Credit: ITV News

The herd was wiped out in 2001 and has since been built back up to 151 cows and heifers. The new dairy unit will enable Newton Rigg students to learn the dairy trade in a state of the art facility.

New Parlour Credit: ITV News

Full Report: Boost for dairy industry

There has been good news for some of our region's dairy farmers this week, as the industry has received a economic boost.

The industry has long campaigned for better prices for its milk production and starting this month, a cheese production company will pay farmers an additional 1p per litre.

Two more companies, including one with a base in Cumbria, will follow suit next month - a move welcomed by local farmers.

Watch the full report from Fiona Marley Paterson below.

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