Blog: Dairy farming is running on a fuel called 'hope it gets better' and yet the tank is on red

08 Hydref 2023

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones updates members on future financial forecasting, the NFU Cymru farmer intentions survey and challenging market conditions

I was recently asked to update my milk production forecast for the next 12 month and the resulting projected financial losses frightened me. In dairy farming, the industry seems to run on fuel called ‘hope it gets better’ and yet the tank is on red. You would not run the engine of a vehicle this way and our industry should be no different.

I shared these thoughts on Twitter (or X as it’s now called). While I was heartened to know that many others shared my concerns and I was not alone in my worrying, it is a damning indictment on our sector that so many farmers are carrying this burden and their businesses are under such strain.

The feedback received on my social media post mirrors the responses received by the NFU and NFU Cymru to a survey of almost 600 farmers’ intentions for future production. Shockingly, 9% of producers believe they are likely to stop producing milk by 2025 and a further 23% are unsure what the future for their business will look like beyond that.

Challenging market conditions have resulted in declining milk prices and it appears that other parts of the supply chain are passing on their losses to the primary producers. Once again it is farmers who are the ones who are unfairly shouldering the risks that come with producing this natural, healthy and sustainable product.

Farming is a long-term business, however the ‘boom and bust’ volatile nature of our markets mean many of us do not have the confidence to make the everyday decisions needed to drive our businesses forward. While this has a direct impact on farm, it has a ripple effect on the allied industries and it affects the prosperity and fabric of our rural communities. Our governments and consumers both have a role to play in helping protect that cultural fabric.

As President of NFU Cymru, I remain committed to lobbying for the right policy, budgetary, regulatory and trade framework to support the continued production of quality, nutritious and climate friendly milk in Wales.

Gofynnwch gwestiwn i ni am y dudalen hon

Unwaith y byddwch wedi cyflwyno’ch ymholiad bydd NFU Cymru yn cysylltu â chi ac, os yw’n briodol, bydd eich cwestiwn yn cael ei drosglwyddo i un o’n timau polisi.

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