Sir; Many people, including chief executives running dairy companies and co-ops, have been critical of the NFU for publicly stating over the past six months that the dairy industry in this country is in meltdown. "Where is the evidence?" they ask.

The NFU understands the current position better. Evidence to back our stance has now been provided by the MDC in its Farmer Intentions Survey 2007. It shows the consequence of a disjointed supply chain, neglect by government and abuses of power by retailers and others. It shows the industry is suffering from severe lack of confidence brought about by poor milk prices, rising costs, and more crippling regulation. This year's survey shows that the number of farmers planning to leave is at its highest for three years. Many farmers realise major changes to their business may be necessary to remain sustainable in the long term, with many lacking the confidence and money to invest.

Rationalisation of this industry needs to happen urgently but in an orderly, logical way, giving hard-pressed farmers best value.

What we do not want is emergency rationalisation due to failure, caused by sudden shortage of milk.

Dairy p44