The future of dairy farming in Wales

17 October 2012

New Inquiry: The Future of Dairy Farming in Wales

Dairy farming accounts for 17% of UK agricultural production by value and is the single largest agricultural sector at £3.7 billion

Wales has about 1,900 dairy farmers—about 20% of the total amount in England and Wales—yet the number of farmers has declined steadily since the end of the last century. There are now 40% fewer dairy farmers in Wales compared to 2002.

During the summer of 2012, the industry suffered a major crisis caused by price cuts announced by retailers and processors. Although some price cuts were subsequently withdrawn, the long-term sustainability of the industry is uncertain. The industry is operating at a £1.2 billion trade deficit. In July, farm leaders and dairy processors agreed the principles for a new voluntary code of practice on contractual relationships in the dairy sector. The UK and Welsh governments support this move. The UK Government is also providing £5 million worth of new funding under the Rural Economy Grant scheme to assist dairy farmers.

The Committee will examine the current state of the dairy industry in Wales and its future prospects. It is particularly interested in evidence on some or all of the following issues:

• The economic and social importance of the dairy industry to Wales;
• The short-and long-term challenges facing dairy farmers, and recent developments in respect of milk prices;
• the potential for the Welsh dairy industry to diversify and become more competitive within the UK and globally;
• the efforts by the UK and Welsh Governments to assist the Welsh dairy industry, and the progress in implementing a voluntary code of conduct on milk contacts;
• The potential impact of the EU Dairy Package and the UK Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill on the Welsh dairy industry; and
• The future composition of the Welsh dairy industry, including the size of dairy farms.

The Committee is not interested in taking evidence on bovine tuberculosis.

The Committee asks for written submissions on this issue in accordance with the guidelines stated below. The deadline for written submissions is Monday 5 November 2012.

The Committee will take evidence on this issue in Aberystwyth on 8 November from Welsh farming unions.  Other witnesses for the session will be announced in due course.

Please note

Each submission should:

• begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
• have numbered paragraphs; and
• be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible. Please do not send your submission as a PDF document.
•      Be no longer than 3000 words in length.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked “The future of dairy farming in Wales”.

An additional paper copy should be sent to:

Welsh Affairs Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at (PDF PDF 1.25 MB)

Please also note that:

• Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

• Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives.  If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. 

• Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

Image: iStockphoto



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