UK farm union leaders call on supply chain and government to help farming industry

Monday, 29 June, 2015

The UK Farming Union Presidents have expressed deep concern and dismay over the current market situation that farmers from across the UK are facing.

UFU president Ian Marshall met with the NFU presidents ahead of the NFU Mutual AGM in order to discuss areas of joint concern with the discussion centring on the pressures that price volatility is causing farmers and the low prices being experienced across all sectors.

Speaking after the meeting UFU president Ian Marshall said: “We recognise that commodity prices across all sectors are under severe pressure and we are presently in the trough of extreme volatility. It is essential therefore that all within the supply chain recognise this and act responsibly in order to support the British supply base who provide the safe, affordable and quality food that the consumer wants to see on supermarket shelves. 

“As the farming union Presidents we are calling on the major retailers to act responsibly at this difficult time and back up their commitments to British agriculture.

“Now is the time to deliver on the promises. We find it incomprehensible that in lamb, for example, we are still seeing significant volumes of New Zealand Lamb on retail shelves when we are in peak season for British supply and we urgently need retailers to get behind British and provide significant shelf space for in season product.

“As a result of these concerns the UK Presidents have agreed to work more closely and coordinate activities and discussions with the major retailers to ensure consistency of messages and key asks from the supply chain.”

The Presidents went on to discuss the challenges and concerns around cash flow and the importance of timely single farm payments this year.

Mr Marshall added: “Cash flow is under severe pressure and nowhere is this most striking than with the dairy industry at present and the latest news about the Russian trade embargoes being extended for a further year only increases the pressure on this hard pressed sector.

“It is therefore essential that UK farmers receive their Single Farm Payment (SFP) at the earliest opportunity within the payment window. We recognise that each part of the UK has its own paying regime but the message to all governments is the same, farmers must receive their SFP payment in December when the payment window opens.”

Summing up the meeting, Mr Marshall commented: “It clear that the market challenges are the same for farmers across the UK and whilst we recognise that volatility is a problem facing farmers across the globe we know that there are measures that all within the supply chain and government can do to help farmers get through this present situation.

“What is clear is that consumers want to see British food produced by our farmers on the shelf and as such we need to see that everyone does all in their power to help safeguard and ensure the future of British farming. We as the four unions will be working closely in the coming weeks and months to ensure that all play there part.”