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Hawes dairy increases milk price paid to farmers
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 of-fered by Wensleydale Creamery, in Hawes, 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.
Half of all milk produced in the UK is sold to manufacturers to be processed into non-liquid dairy products.
David Hartley, managing director of the 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, 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 prod-uction of its cheeses.
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.”
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 wel-comed by Matthew Bell, chairman of Wensleydale Milk Producer Group.
He said: “I challenge other manufacturers in the cheese market to follow the creamery’s lead and assist farmers who are under pressure.”
Despite the increase, the price per litre remains below the National Farm-ers’ Union (NFU) estimate of the cost to produce milk, which is 30p a litre.