Sir, The increasing volume and value of dairy imports reported in your Focus on Butter & Spreads is nothing short of baffling to the NFU and its dairy farmer members.

British dairy farmers operate to world-leading standards. I cannot express strongly enough my disappointment that they are paid the lowest prices in Europe. Something has to change.

British dairy farming is at a watershed. Despite declining farmer numbers, volume production is turning a corner as average yields and efficiency improve. Farmers want to expand, but market signals tell them to do the opposite.

What our industry needs is investment in infrastructure and drive to find and grow new markets. Furthermore, it needs fair terms and conditions of trade. This is why the NFU backs Defra's call for a voluntary 'code of conduct' to deliver negotiating strength and price transparency to dairy farmers at this crucial time.

Robert Newbery, chief dairy adviser, NFU

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