'Worse Than the War' - Future as He Dum' - Farmer Fears for His 11,500l of Fresh Milk

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), April 7, 2020 | Go to article overview

'Worse Than the War' - Future as He Dum' - Farmer Fears for His 11,500l of Fresh Milk


Byline: LAURA CLEMENTS Reporter laura.clements@walesonline.co.uk

ON Sunday, Llyr Griffiths pulled the plug out of his milk tank and watched 11,500 litres of fresh milk disappear down the drain.

His four-year-old son, who loves watching the cows be milked, couldn't understand what was happening.

Never before had he seen his dad literally pour hours of hard work and money down the drain.

But Mr Griffiths is just another victim of the coronavirus crisis. He sells the milk from his 500 dairy cows to Freshways, who supply the likes of Costa Coffee, Starbucks, British Airways and P&O cruises.

With the country on lockdown, that market has dried up overnight.

No-one wants the milk. Not even Freshways, who asked Mr Griffiths to dump his entire tank on Sunday.

He didn't know if they would pick up the milk from his yesterday.

is 500 dairy cows The 28-year-old is a fourth-generation farmer, working alongside his father on the family-owned farm in Ceredigion, but doesn't know if they will survive the pandemic.

f e s t -"The future is very uncertain right now," said Mr Griffiths, who played semi-professional rugby before coming home to farm fulltime.

d al ng lis "All we can do is borrow money to get through this.

et "We don't know where we stand, but ow ut op.

we can't just stop. We've got to get up 4am every morning and keep going.

at ng ess hut up "It's not a business we can just shut shop while this runs its course. I'm very unsure about our future. When we come out the other side it might be a case of looking to sell up."

To contemplate the end of a familyrun family-business which has been through so much is heart-breaking.

Mr Griffiths' grandmother, who used to fun the farm alongside his gr in grandfather, can remember farming during the war.

The Covid-19 pandemic is even worse than that, she says. Mr Griffiths said: "My grandmother says this is worse than wartime.

wor fith "At least the countryside could carry on producing food for the war efforts and for the rural areas back then. But with this, we have no control in anything."

Mr Griffiths said that even before he dumped his milk, the milk price had dropped so that he was already losing 2p for every litre he produced - and producing 11,500 litres a day, that 2p has a massive financial impact. On March 18, Freshways also said it won't be able to pay its suppliers until May 15.

Mr Griffiths said: "I'm hopefully going to be the fourth generation farming on our family farm.

"But if the farmer carries on being on the bottom of the pecking order, then I doubt my son will want to be the fifth and I am sure this is true for many other young farmers."

He is keen to stress that he does not blame Freshways, which is the UK's largest independent processing dairy, in any way, but instead wants the government to step in and do more. …

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