Work together to save dairy farming, says Bute MSP

Dairy cattle on Bute.
Dairy cattle on Bute.

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell says everyone with an interest in dairy farming in the area needs to work together to see the industry through its current crisis.

Mr Russell met the island’s dairy farmers on Friday after First Milk - the co-operative of which all Bute’s dairy farmers are members - announced that it would again be cutting the price it pays to farmers for their milk, in some cases to as little as 16 pence a litre.

Mr Russell called on those with an interest in saving the local dairy farming sector to work together to help farmers through the current crisis.

“There is recognition across the community that supporting dairy farmers is an important thing to do,” he said.

“The Bute Estate, and others, have to be supportive.

“The condition of the world market is poor, but it is improving. However, the problem here is not the world market but First Milk: the price they pay to their members is the worst in Scotland by far, and that has to change.”

Mr Russell is a member of the Scottish Parliament’s rural affairs, climate change and environment committee, which recently carried out an inquiry into the crisis facing Scottish dairy farmers; he said he was expecting an announcement “within days” from Richard Lochhead, the cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment, on the committee’s recommendations, which were published last month.