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Farming chiefs to meet Government for dairy crisis talks

Farmers blocked the Tesco distribution centre at Avonmouth on Sunday night. Credit: Farmer for Action

Farming industry leaders will meet with Government ministers today in a bid to thrash out a deal amid the ongoing dairy crisis.

A number of protests have been staged recently by farmers who say milk is being sold in supermarkets for less than it costs to produce.

Supermarkets Asda, Aldi and Morrisons have already agreed to pay farmers more for milk.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss will host a summit with the presidents of four farming unions in central London to discuss further measures to help the industry.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph at the weekend, Ms Truss said: "We need to make sure that our producers are able to meet the challenges they face so that they can capitalise on the growing interest in food provenance, standards and safety to capture more of the market at home and abroad."


European Union rules 'are a problem for UK farmers'

European Union rules on what British farmers must grow are a "problem", the Environment Secretary has said.

Liz Truss said she saw the damaging impact of the Common Agricultural Policy on the UK farming industry "all the time".

Liz Truss said there are 'benefits' and 'serious costs' to being in a single market. Credit: Stephen Rafferty/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

Truss told the Sunday Telegraph: "There are benefits to being in a single market, but there are serious costs.

"The three crop rule means that Brussels bureaucrats are going to be deciding what our farmers produce, rather than what consumers want, which is a problem."

National Farmers' Union: Milk is now cheaper than water

The president of the National Farmers' Union has said that the price of milk has been devalued to the extent that it is now "cheaper than water".

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said:

This is only a symptom of what has happened in the milk industry over the last number of months ... There are very few dairy farmers making any money, most are haemorrhaging money at this present time, particularly those at 20p a litre ...

Dairy farming is seen as nearly iconic in the British countryside. We have lost 60 dairy producers in December alone ... We have halved the number of dairy farmers in the last 10 years.

– Meurig Raymond, president, nfu

First Milk delays payments to farmers amid price slump

Britain's largest dairy firm has delayed payments to farmers because of a slump in the global price of milk, its chairman has said.

Dairy farmers faced a year of unprecedented volatility in 2014, First Milks says Credit: Frank May/DPA/Press Association Images

First Milk, a co-operative owned by British farmers, said last year was a "year of volatility that has never been seen before" in the global dairy industry.

Its chairman, Conservative MP Sir Jim Paice, said it will delay today's payments to farmers by two weeks and all subsequent payments by a fortnight in order to put the business on a "stronger platform".

He added: "We are aware that hundreds of UK dairy farmers are unlikely to find a home for their milk this spring."

Read the full statement here

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