Milking cost of pinta at expense of farmers’ jobs

Farmer Nigel Stacey
Farmer Nigel Stacey

A dairy farmer says he is being forced out of business due to a drastic fall in the wholesale price of milk.

Nigel Stacey, who has owned Woad Farm near Newport Pagnell for 25 years, produces one million litres of milk every year.

David Grainge (NFU), Iain Stewart MP and farmer Nigel Stacey

David Grainge (NFU), Iain Stewart MP and farmer Nigel Stacey

But he says the cost of milk production is now so high he can’t make ends meet and is struggling for survival.

This week he called on the public to get behind their farmers –or face a future without them. He said: “There is no doubt about it, we are at crisis point. It is costing us more money to produce milk than we can sell it for.

“My wife has had to take on another job and run a B&B to make ends meet. That is the only thing that keeps us going through the difficult times.”

He explained the average price of milk paid by processors and retailers has dropped 25 per cent in the past 12 months to just 23.35p a litre.

That’s significantly lower than the estimated cost of production of 30p a litre.

The situation is so worrying up to 40 per cent of farmers in the North Bucks area have gone out of business in the past five years.

David Grainge, group secretary of North Bucks National Farmers Union, said: “There are so few dairy farmers left it is like a rare animal becoming extinct. There will always be dairy farmers, but in concentrated areas. The ones here could completely disappear.”

The number of dairy farmers in the UK was estimated to be 25,000 in 2000, but there are now just 9,724 in England and Wales.

After visiting Woad Farm last week, Iain Stewart, MP for MK South says he is comitted to working with the government and NFU to find a solution.

He said: “Listening to Nigel and other local farmers it is clear there is a real threat to production at this moment in time.

“I would hate to see the very few Dairy Farms we have left disappear through no fault of their own.”