Over 300 farmers and industry representatives from across Cumbria gathered at Dolphenby Farm, Edenhall, Penrith yesterday, for an exclusive conference held by the NFU North West and First Milk.
The conference brought together some of the industry's top speakers as they shared their insights about opportunities in the dairy sector both in the UK and Globally.
Conference speakers included International Dairy Consultant Mark Voorbergen, First Milk chief executive Kate Allum, NFU Chief Dairy Advisor Robert Newbery and the Rt Hon Jim Paice MP, Minister of State for Food and Agriculture.
Some key comments from the conference:
Rt Hon Jim Paice MP
"With Global demand for food predicted to soar over coming decades, I remain absolutely convinced that British dairy farming has a huge potential to prosper. Our processed products such as butter, yogurt and cheese are already world class but we currently don't make enough. We've got to start clawing back our £1.2billion trade deficit in dairy and embrace the massive opportunities with consumers at home and in the huge export markets abroad"
Kate Allum, chief executive, First Milk
"I appreciate that there has been a lot of anger from producers over the past few months. Now is not the time to talk about the past or to simply get angry - but now is the time to re-focus that negative energy of anger and turn it into positive energy and drive for change"
Robert Newbery, NFU Chief Dairy Advisor:
"The real wins are for long term collaboration. That is what the NFU is all about, that is what we are looking to achieve with our database, and the coalition of organisations and that is how we are looking to deliver a long term sustainable future for dairy farming"
Mark Voorbergen, International Dairy consultant:
"The world needs more milk and UK dairy farmers have a good starting point in terms of milk production. However creating a competitive edge in line with demand, has to be a full value chain effort. The opportunity is there, it is up to farmers if they want to grasp it"
A video showcasing the speeches from the conference will go live over the next few days, and can be viewed on First Milk's YouTube channel www.youtube.com/firstmilk1.