Ian Potter’s latest mailing records that in the space of five months First Milk’s liquid contracted producers have seen 7.4ppl knocked off their milk price equivalent to an 30% drop, to give a 1st October standard litre price of only 25.1ppl. Its cheese contracted producers have had five consecutive cuts totalling 6.4ppl to produce a new 1st October standard litre price of 26.1ppl. First Milk’s comment: “The milk buying price is in line with current market returns”. . .
Though admitting it is a very difficult job to bring farm organisations together and more so the different farming sectors, the quietly persuasive William Taylor (Coleraine, Farmers for Action Northern Ireland, coordinator of Farmers for Fairness in Europe) is hoping to “pull this off in Northern Ireland across all the commodities”.
He has been preparing the ground for years at national and European level – seen here in 2012 preparing to hand over a letter to the NI (Belfast) European Commission Office manager Colette Fitzgerald, and – later – to Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, EU Commissioner for Agriculture at Greenmount CAFRE Agricultural College Campus Antrim on a visit to Northern Ireland.
Currently in Northern Ireland six organisations, including FFA, have been brought together with reference to beef cattle residencies (factories in NI cutting 25p/kg off any animal that has more than 4 farm residencies).
These organisations are also ready to go forward together with the Blueprint for Northern Ireland, on an equal basis, meeting the Northern Ireland Agriculture Committee at Stormont in October (below, the 2013 committee).
At this meeting, now after 12 months lobbying, the Agriculture Committee will be asked (after some straight talking) to go forward and request legislation on farmgate prices. The groups will go with the Agriculture committee or the Minister of Agriculture, whichever will move first to request the legislation.
William Taylor comments that if this succeeds in Northern Ireland across all the commodities then southern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England would want the same. A meeting of Fairness for Farmers would then brief them to go back to their respective parts of the UK and Ireland and make the same request.
He ends, “This is the plan: I cannot say we will succeed but we are going to try and I think this is the best way forward for all farmers across the UK and Ireland – there will be no more news about our progress until after the October meeting with the Agriculture Committee at Stormont.