The dairy co-operative First Milk has said they will not be able to pay their suppliers due to financial troubles. Planned payments to more than 1,000 farmers on Monday will not take place and they will be delayed by a fortnight. A spokesman for the co-operative said that the move will put their finances on a stronger platform. Another part of the plan is for the company increase its capital levy contributions and recoup extra capital from its members. The president of the National Farmers’ Union said the news had left its members ‘extremely anxious’. Although he did stress it was “paramount that the financial stability of First Milk is secured”. First Milk said that banks had been informed and their staff would be able to help farmers whose direct debits have bounced.
First Milk is one of the UK’s largest dairy farmer co-operatives producing 1.2 billion litres of milk per year. It has a number of facilities across England, Scotland and Wales that supply Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons. The co-operative employs 400 people and works with 1,300 farmers that produce 50,000 tonnes of cheese each year.