ARGYLL AND BUTE MSP COMMENTS AFTER DAIRY FARMERS MEETING IN CAMPBELTOWN

“THE ABSOLUTE PRIORITY IS INVESTMENT IN CAMPBELTOWN CREAMERY”

Speaking after a meeting of dairy farmers and their families, held in Campbeltown last night, which considered the recent report from the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs Committee, but was held in the shadow of a further reduction in the price per litre paid by First Milk, effective from April, Argyll & Bute MSP Michael Russell commented:

“This was a well-attended and very focussed meeting, which discussed in detail the challenges facing the dairy industry in Kintyre. There was agreement that the absolute priority was to ensure that First Milk honoured their commitment to major investment in the creamery, which is being supported by grants from the Scottish Government. I agreed to meet the dairy farmers and their families again soon, when there will hopefully be more information from the company about a firm timescale of the upgrading of the creamery, which is vital for the future of the producers and the area.

“In the meantime, I will seek answers from the Scottish Government and the company to a range of questions about that investment, the costs incurred by the plant, and the prospects for better marketing, innovation and new products.

“The range of recommendations in the report of the recent Scottish Parliament inquiry into the Scottish milk supply chain was also discussed, as I am sure they will be when I meet the Bute dairy farmers on Friday. They will be particularly keen to press the Scottish Government to ensure a better deal on ferry costs for their milk when it leaves the island.

“I will continue to do everything I can to help this important agricultural sector in Argyll & Bute, which is being adversely affected by a difficult global market for milk but which is also suffering – as the Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs Committee report clearly shows – by poor decisions and management from First Milk.”

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