Glanbia Cheese in Magheralin was the venue for a meeting about the challenges facing the dairy sector last week.
Ulster Unionist representatives Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, Jim Nicholson MEP and Councillor Kyle Savage recently visited the plant to discuss the company’s plans for the future with Cecil Morton, Glanbia Farm Liaison Manager.
Commenting after the meeting Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson, who is the UUP Agriculture spokesperson, said: “The significant drop in farm gate prices is causing pain for producers across Northern Ireland, given these difficulties good communication between farmers and processors is more crucial than ever.”
The MLA added: “Meeting with Cecil Morton, was therefore a good opportunity to discuss the situation currently facing farmers and processors plus the sector’s future prospects.
“I have concerns that the pressure on cash flow will ultimately affect the health of farmers and their families.
“DARD and the industry also need to work hard to develop new export markets which need to kick in as a matter of priority.”
Councillor Kyle Savage, who is a dairy farmer himself, concluded: “As tough times are expected to continue farmers cannot be expected to produce milk at a price which is lower than the cost of production and if the world continues to over produce, then clearly milk prices will continue to be volatile.
“Alongside reviewing the intervention price other practical steps should include all key stakeholders from Government through to banks working more closely with all aspects of the dairy industry to help it through the current difficulties.”