Dale Farm’s Chief Executive has mounted a robust defence after the Ulster Farmers’ Union accused the processor of refusing to engage with the farming union over milk prices paid to suppliers.
Dale Farm Group CEO Nick Whelan, said he was ‘surprised and disappointed by the tone and wording in UFU statements over recent weeks.’
He added: “Far from refusing to engage with that organisation, I made it an early priority to meet UFU leaders and brief them on Dale Farm’s intention to significantly increase the price we can pay to our members over the coming months, as the market delivered.
“Our members are our priority and we will be in a position to further update them at our AGM next week. Our members should learn this information first, thereafter we will communicate more widely as we see fit. We anticipate the UFU will form an important part of that engagement process,” he added.
In a statement released today the Ulster Farmers’ Union described as ‘bizarre’ the decision by Dairy UK (Northern Ireland) to block future engagement with the Ulster Farmers’ Union over its criticism of the failure of processors to pass on better milk market returns to farmers.
UFU deputy president, Ivor Ferguson, said this confirmed the Union’s criticism that dairy processors did not understand how angry farmers feel after more than 18 months of struggling with prices below the cost of production.
“Farmers are right to demand that processors dig deeper to give them the full benefit of the fall in the value of sterling and improving global markets. If they cannot do so, they need to explain to their members why this is the case and also when they can expect to see price increases. For the organisation that represents processors to respond to criticism by refusing to engage with the body that represents their farmer suppliers is, quite frankly, childish posturing,” said Mr Ferguson. It is understood Dairy UK (NI) has claimed that the UFU’s criticism of their members was ‘unhelpful and unjustified’.
Source: Farming Life