Farmers’ Union of Wales leaders have met the Westminster food, farming and environment minister Jim Fitzpatrick and numerous Welsh MPs of all four main parties to discuss issues of concern to dairy farmers including the recent collapse of the Dairy Farmers of Britain farmers’ cooperative.
Lengthy discussions took place at separate meetings with the FUW which was represented by union president Gareth Vaughan, milk committee chairman Eifion Huws and two dairy farmers from Powys and Anglesey.
They met Anglesey MP Albert Owen, who organised a cross-party meeting, Mr Fitzpatrick and several other Welsh MPs. The other meeting, organised by shadow Welsh minister and Clwyd West MP David Jones, was also attended by shadow Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan.
The union delegation expressed their concerns about the future of the industry and pressed for an enquiry into the problems building up to the closure of Dairy Farmers of Britain. They were pleased to learn that Labour were in full support of keeping the Milk Quota in future.
Mr Vaughan felt the meetings had been very constructive and productive and was pleased discussions had also taken place into the possibility of an Ombudsman being appointed for the farming industry.
"We are extremely grateful to Mr Owen and Mr Jones for their support and for organising the meetings and are also appreciative to all the other MPs who attended and gave their valuable time to meet representatives from the union and dairy sector."
Mr Jones said later that the FUW delegation spent an hour discussing DFB’s failure and other issues of current concern, including electronic identification of sheep. "Many farmers in Wales and the north of England have lost large sums of money as a result of DFB’s collapse.
"Some are now facing heavy claims by the receivers under the terms of their guarantees. It is hard to see how the co-operative could have collapsed with such large debts without warning signs becoming apparent long before.
"I believe that an inquiry into DFB’s failure is called for and I will continue to press for one in Parliament."