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First Milk cash questions

THE MOVE by First Milk to take more investment cash from its producer members has raised hackles in a sector that doesn't feel it has a lot to spare at the moment.

The increased member investment of 0.5ppl from April was announced in conjunction with a small price increase from the co-op – 0.5p for producers in the liquid pool and 0.4p for those in its cheese and balancing pools from April 1. It was also sweetened by the news that the co-op will pay out a 3% return on members' capital account balance in April.

First Milk's leadership said that the boost to its investment funds was being sought to help the co-op take advantage of a range of 'added value opportunities' that it had been investigating.

At this week's NFU Scotland agm in St Andrews, the move met with some heated debate over the pints and drams, not least because it had been introduced without any consultation with the membership.

Campbeltown milk producer John Smith told The Scottish Farmer: "This is a step too far, especially given the tough winter we are coming through and all the extra costs involved in keeping production going."

(For the full story see The Scottish Farmer this week, February 16, 2013)

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