We need to think about farming

‘WE FACE a real risk of losing more farms, to the point that the sector as a whole may never recover, and if we don’t act, we could very quickly see the end of dairy farming in Guernsey. That is no exaggeration.’

A shocking situation, outlined today by Environment & Infrastructure president Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, having been presented to government by Guernsey’s dairy farmers.

They are facing the double whammy of a 38% increase in the cost of animal feed and fertilisers, largely down to the war in Ukraine, and what in old money would have been called a summer drought.

This has led to an immediate response with a £486,000 emergency funding package from the States, an average of £40,000 for each farm. The alternative prospect was said to be a 40-50p increase in the price of a litre of milk.

The package is intended to tide over farmers and their herds for the winter, as the committees hope that commodity prices start to fall soon.

But a time when talk about escalating costs of a new dairy have placed a focus on the financial viability of the farming industry, a review also announced into the long-term sustainability of the sector is also crucial.

It should pose some uncomfortable questions for farmers, and challenge islanders on their expectations and cost tolerance for our milk, and countryside.

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