European legislators have urged the EU to include cheese in plans to extend aid for the bloc's dairy farmers until February next year.

The European Parliament's agriculture committee today (2 September) backed a European Commission plan for more help for farmers in storing butter and skimmed milk powder.

The committee voted "unanimously" for the plan, a European Parliament communique said, but the MEPs called on the Commission to also include cheese in its plans.

The Commission is providing help to EU dairy farmers amid falling milk and dairy product prices and proposes to buy up butter and milk powder until February 2010.

The committee's plea on cheese is set to be debated in the European Parliament in the coming days.

James Edwards, Dairy Economist at the NFU said the Commission's plan to extend aid is good news but he believes it will benefit Euro zone members more than it will benefit the UK.

"At the moment the sterling is still quite weak in comparison to the euro. It's not absolutely stunning news for the UK dairy industry but it is good for the EU dairy industry and we think it will enable a smooth transition for the dairy industry in the European Union rather than cause a rapid decline due to the prices that our dairy farmers are receiving in Europe."