Sir; A sustainable future for the UK’s dairy sector will only come through increased milk prices and reduced production costs.
Farmers have worked extremely hard at driving costs out of their businesses and therefore it is galling to see some costs spiralling beyond the farmer’s control. The cost of fuel, labour and compliance with an increasing burden of regulation are all on the up.
The TFA reminds members there is one large cost they can influence - rent. Following our successful Rents Must Come Down campaign of the 1990s, the TFA is again of the view that it is time for rents to fall.
Upward price response in commodities has so far failed to materialise and looks set to remain a hope rather than a reality. Indeed in most cases prices have worsened rather than improved - evidenced by the price reductions announced by major milk processors.
Rent now accounts for a much higher proportion of the earning capacity of let farms than it has done for some time. Tenants should take action now.
As far as improving prices is concerned, there are a host of issues to address: the power of retailers; amending EU rules on promotion; improving country of origin labelling;encouraging, farmer owned brands; and reforming levy bodies.