The Scottish government has unveiled a five-point action plan aimed at tackling pricing issues in the dairy industry.

The plan was announced by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead yesterday (12 July) following a meeting with NFU Scotland officials.

Lochhead, who warned recent reductions to farmgate milk prices will force many farmers out of business, has called for a summit meeting with UK and Welsh colleagues.

The five-point plan calls for the establishment of a timetable for consulting on legislation, asking UK agriculture minister Jim Paice to appoint an independent person to assist with the current negotiations between producers and processors and writing to retailers demanding clarity for consumers about how much producers receive for their milk.

The action plan follows an announcement of a GBP5m (US$7.7m) funding programme by UK Prime Minister David Cameron this week, which aims to back projects to help improve dairy farmers’ competitiveness.

Around 2,500 dairy farmers from across the UK gathered for a summit in London on Wednesday, calling on processors to reverse the “crippling” reductions in farmgate milk prices.

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This month, the UK’s largest dairy processors – Dairy Crest, Robert Wiseman Dairies and Arla Foods – cut the price farmers are paid for milk down by a further 1.65-2ppl. The reductions followed cuts in May and June.