News

What AHDB Dairy is doing to help levy payers in these challenging times

Published 13 August 15

With so much media and public attention on our industry, it’s well worth making as many people as possible aware of the efforts being made to inform the debate and also help farmers in this time of such low milk prices.

Our core role of supporting levy payers with technical and business improvement information remains key, but we have had a shift in emphasis to provide focus on immediate steps farmers can consider – what can help right here, right now, with surviving the current situation.

Our extension officer colleagues are running meetings, where demand is high in a range of formats, focussed on topics such as cash flow forecasts, optimising contracts, maximising resources such as forage, options for reducing stock numbers (if appropriate), etc – essentially all options available as many face tough decisions.

For levy payers who are able to focus on more medium term plans and who have some of the things mentioned above already in place, we introduce LEAN business practices. LEAN has been successfully adopted in other industries and helps with managing costs and reviewing systems and processes to minimise waste, in terms of time and money.

Working with the media – In common with most industries, the public, commentators and other influencers as well as levy payers, get information via the press and media. AHDB Dairy has been working extensively with journalists aiming to ensure accurate reporting and the most up-to-date industry facts and market statistics are used. We have been actively introducing the media to ‘experts’, including farmers who can give first-hand knowledge and accounts of the issues they face and the work they do.

BBC Radio 4’s programme Farming Today, contacted AHDB Dairy and asked, “With falling dairy prices, what's the role of the quango, AHDB Dairy?” Amanda Ball, AHDB Dairy head of marketing and communications, was interviewed for the programme by Sybil Ruscoe. You can click on the following link to hear the interview, which starts at 7:50 into the broadcast and was aired on Thursday 13 August 2015. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b064zlvb

However, much of the work with the media is behind the scenes, although often AHDB is credited as a ‘source’ in published or on-screen graphics. In recent days, the press office has taken dozens of calls from journalists and members of the public seeking to understand what is going on with milk prices. When responding to these enquiries it gives us an opportunity to promote our ongoing ‘It’s in our hands’ campaign – please see www.thisisdairyfarming.com/promise.

Through our active social media channels, we are signposting to people quality logos such as the Red Tractor mark and importantly, taking time to improve the awareness and understanding of the farming standards behind them. This helps the public make more informed buying decisions.

Alongside all of this work, we have been working very closely with farming unions and other industry organisations to ensure that we all play to our strengths.

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