FARMERS ACROSS the UK are being encouraged to use this year's show season to make themselves heard by beef processors, dairy processors, supermarkets and any other corporate and co-op purchasers of their produce.

Farmers For Action said that too often farmers allowed themselves to be placated with show day hospitality, when they should be using that face-to-face time with their buyers' representatives to kick up a stink about the 'rock bottom' prices they were receiving.

FFA suggested that Northern Irish farmers should lead the charge at the imminent Balmoral Show, the first of the Royal Shows of 2019, by shunning the cups of tea and 'going for the jugular'.

Steering Committee spokesman Sean McAuley said: “When you consider the cost of production alone for beef is now £6.15 per kilo, lamb £6.15 per kilo and milk 41per litre, it will take an increase of at least 50% to bring most of Northern Ireland / UK farm gate prices into the real world and then add on profit all inflation linked.

"Farmers and their families have been slaves to the food corporates and co-ops for long enough across the majority of the staples. It is time to let them have it, face to face, and make it clear that the day of driving farmers to becoming more intensive and more efficient in order to be better off is really a rainbow that delivers for the corporates only! Therefore, is it time for farmers to consider producing less in order to be financially better off?" asked Mr McAuley.

"FFA hope farmers and their families enjoy their day at the Balmoral Show and the rest of the shows to follow, however, they need to support FFA and other farm organisations by making themselves heard, loud and clear, on abysmal farm gate prices across majority of the staples.

"Remember, the Brexit smokescreen is not an excuse – whether we eventually leave or remain in the EU, we will still be facing the food corporates," he added. "FFA repeat – farmers should not sign any supply contracts or agreements that are below the true cost of production plus a margin inflation linked and especially without good legal advice."