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New poll shows we love our pinta and our farmers

[Wednesday 20 September 2006]
dales cows
Glimmer of hope for dales dairy farmers

IT HAS been a tough few years for dairy farmers across the Yorkshire Dales; but as representatives of the dairy industry meet at their annual event in Warwickshire over the next two days (20-21 September) an opinion poll is highlighting some reasons for optimism in the sector.

Carried out by ICM and commissioned by the Country Land and Business Association, the survey provides a glimpse of public attitudes of, and opinion towards, the dairy industry.

The main findings of the survey reveal that:

  • 80% of the public would rather buy milk that I know has come from a British dairy rather than a dairy abroad

  • 60% would rather buy locally produced dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream than leading brands or supermarket own brands.

  • 85% believed that dairy farmers cannot be expected to compete if supermarkets keep cutting the price of milk

  • 70% thought that the countryside would be worse if we lost the dairy sector

Commenting on the poll, David Fursdon, CLA President, said: "The dairy industry has had more than its fair share of problems in recent years. The farm gate price for milk coupled with the market power held by supermarkets and the milk processors has hit the industry hard.

...the public is linking landscape to who looks after it and recognising the vital role of agricultural activity

David Fursdon - CLA

"The poll shows that the British public wants as much as possible of the money they spend on dairy products to go directly to individual diary farmers. They would rather have their milk from this country as opposed to anywhere else. They think that the supermarkets have not helped the dairy sector and they believe that if we lose our dairy farmers the British countryside will suffer."

Acknowledging that there is a long way to go before the industry recovers fully, Mr Fursdon added: "What people say in surveys compared to how they spend their money in the supermarket or corner shop can be quite different things, so let's hope their intentions are put into action.

"However, I think the sector should be encouraged by this poll. It shows its customer base is loyal and there is a glint of optimism here - the public is linking landscape to who looks after it and recognising the vital role of agricultural activity."

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