North Dorset dairy farmers have been fighting to survive for the last 15 years and are now facing extinction. They do not receive any subsidies for their milk production and are being crushed by static prices huge costs rises and the burden of mindless regulation.
After the abolition of the Milk Marketing Board the small and medium size dairy farmers have been crippled by the mounting monopoly bargaining position of the major supermarkets which bear down on the commercial dairies to whom dairy farms sell their milk. The dairy companies are unable to resist the pressure from the super stores with the result that milk prices have stayed virtually level. Yet dairy farmers have seen the elimination of their profit due to the vast increase in the costs of fuel and feed. In addition the cost of water has multiplied by an astonishing amount – an impossible burden for dairy farms which consume very high volumes to produce milk. Added to this is the collapse in the price of new born bulls calves – a key part of dairy farming – which formerly provided a significant supporting income.
If this were not enough the EU has imposed wholly unrealistic burdens of regulation and cost on them which they cannot pass on or bear themselves. To takes just two examples. The EU regulation on transport of animals means that the cost of compliance and restrictions in transport to abattoirs has become prohibitive. The rules on passporting and tagging of calves are so burdensome that they require the dairy farmer to tag bull calves about to be slaughtered at a cost of £7 for a calf that will fetch £10. On top of all this milk is being dumped in the UK by over production in other EU countries without any regard for the survival of our dairy farming industry – something that cannot be controlled whilst we remain in the EU.
The beauty of our countryside is a gift to us all from our farmers. To see the plight of our dairy farms and to turn away is unforgivable in any politician – yet that is what has happened year after year under Labour and Conservative rule. Only by leaving the EU can we begin to restore the prosperity and way of life of our dairy farmers before they leave the land altogether.