‘Grim future’ for Argyll and Bute dairy farmers

The crisis facing the UK dairy farming industry is particularly acute in Argyll and Bute.
The crisis facing the UK dairy farming industry is particularly acute in Argyll and Bute.

The four candidates vying to become Argyll and Bute’s MSP have all admitted they have no ready answers to the crisis facing the area’s dairy farmers.

The Conservatives’ Donald Cameron, Labour’s Mick Rice, Alan Reid for the Liberal Democrats and the SNP’s Michael Russell were asked at The Buteman’s hustings this week how they viewed the future for the beleaguered dairy sector in the face of ever-decreasing milk prices, caused by over-supply on the world market.

Mr Russell said he believed the future was “grim”, and said the problems facing dairy farmers in Bute, Kintyre and Gigha were twofold: one being over-supply and the other being First Milk, the co-operative of which all the area’s dairy farmers are members, which he said had been “appallingly managed”.

Mr Cameron said he was “entirely sympathetic” but didn’t know enough about the specifics to offer a solution, while Mr Rice admitted he, too, had no answer and acknowledged that “politicians don’t have magic wands”.

Mr Reid called for reform of the supermarkets’ code of conduct but acknowledged that the area’s dairy farmers were “definitely victims of globalisation”.