first milk

AHDB Dairy has hit back against claims it is advising farmers to boost production to increase levy collections.

Farmers for Action chairman David Handley criticised AHDB chairman Gwyn Jones at a farming event last week after Jones suggested dairy farmers increase production to keep pace with overseas rivals.

Handley claimed Jones had chosen to “ignore the issue of supply and demand” and was “consistently encouraging people to produce more milk when there is no market”. He suggested AHDB Dairy needed the extra levy fees from increased production to fill its coffers.

With the board preparing to launch a consultation document into its future, Jones this week robustly defended AHDB Dairy, telling The Grocer it “would not advocate an increase in production without farmers having dialogue with their milk buyer and assessing the potential implications”.

But neither would AHDB Dairy “discourage farmers looking to invest in a future in dairy”, he added. “We see our role as doing everything we can to help farmers to produce milk efficiently and competitively while providing them with impartial information.”