First Milk boss allays farmers' payment concerns at NFU meeting

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Media captionChairman Sir Jim Paice talked to producers in Wales, which supply the Co-operative

About 200 farmers attended a meeting in Pembrokeshire with the chairman of dairy co-operative First Milk after its decision to delay paying milk producers by two weeks.

Sir Jim Paice said he told farmers the business was secure after he addressed NFU Cymru members at a meeting at Llandisillio.

First Milk has said the move will put its finances on a stronger footing.

About 400 producers in Wales supply the co-operative.

Farmers said the decision was another setback after months of falling milk prices.

Sir Jim, the South East Cambridgeshire MP, said he hoped farmers felt reassured following the meeting, adding: "We've had to rebuild cash in the business so that our cash flow is fine.

"First Milk is a perfectly solvent business and we have a long-term future, but we needed to recapitalise the business and that is what we've done."

Its decision affects more than 1,000 British farmers as it operates a number of milk production facilities in England, Scotland and Wales, including the Haverfordwest Creamery cheese plant in Pembrokeshire.

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