Rotary Club of Wensleydale
Home | A Farmer's View - William Slinger
Mr Slinger is principally a dairy farmer, but also keeps sheep and beef cattle. He is the Founder & Managing Director of 'Bowland Fresh' (see www.bowlandfresh.co.uk) and writes a monthly column for Farmers Weekly
William Slinger who farms 600 acres at Pendleton, Clitheroe in Lancashire, expressed "A Farmer's View". He discussed the problems farmers currently face and the future of the Industry at a time when many farms have ceased and less young folk see farming as a viable proposition and seek employment elsewhere. All this at a time when the Government is warning that the future will require more and more food to be produced in the British Isles. Co-operation needed between the dairy farmer, the retailer and the consumer was an excellent example of the influences that affect farming viability. Till 1984 the Milk Marketing Board was the body most farmers dealt with. Following the collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain, First Milk and Milk Link handle about 25% of U.K. milk. He suggests farmers who feel powerless in the market place need producer groups to negotiate their own terms of production and price. Contracts need to be fair and strike a sensible balance between producer and consumer. With 15 other farmers Connect Plus was formed. Contacting Booths Head Office in Preston they initially sought to sell Bowland lamb. Booths were more interested in their milk. as it fitted in well with the sore's philosophy of sourcing as much local produce as is feasible. Here is a retailer who believes that customers care where food comes from and favour locally produced food. Supermarket dominance of the food retail sector has a very significant impact on the farming industry. Farmers may need to co-operate together more and negotiate more with the retailers. Governments talk well but actions supporting food producers do not always match the dialogue. Local farmer David Greenwood proposed the vote of thanks following lively questions and debate.