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Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes pays farmers extra 1.5p per litre for milk
A DAIRY has increased the price it pays farmers for milk, saying it wants to lead the debate on how best to support sustainable milk production in the UK.
The 1.5p a litre rise offered by Wensleydale Creamery, in Hawes , North Yorkshire, follows national protests in July by farmers angry about cuts to the amount they receive from processors.
The dairy said it hoped the increase, to 28.5p per litre, would help local farmers and start a campaign to raise the price paid for dairy products in the cheese, yoghurt, dessert and butter markets by retailers.
Half of all milk produced in the UK is sold to manufacturers, to be processed into non-liquid dairy products.
David Hartley, the managing director of Wensleydale Creamery, said: “If we neglect our duty here, these suppliers will either stop producing milk or will look to find more lucrative and sustainable contracts for their milk, such as the liquid market.
“Our business relies on a sustainable supply of fresh local milk and, as such, we have to pay a fair price for this, and this will be reflected in the price of our cheese in the shops.”
Mr Hartley said farmers were integral to the production of its award-winning cheeses.
He said: “We felt it was vital to take this stand and support our farmers in leading the cheese market debate on how best to support sustainable milk production in the UK.”
The increase was welcomed by Matthew Bell, the chairman of Wensleydale Milk Producer Group.
He said: “I challenge other manufacturers in the cheese market to follow the creamery’s lead and assist other farmers who are under pressure.”
Despite the increase, the price per litre remains below the National Farmers’ Union’s (NFU) estimate of the cost to produce milk, which is 30p a litre.
Richard Potts, NFU dairy and livestock policy advisor for the North-East, said the price increase also followed a decrease by Wensleydale Creamery earlier this year, but said: “It is great that we are seeing more money go back to the farmers.”
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