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Milk Deal for Cheese Company

THIRTY nine farmers have been head-hunted to sell milk direct to Caledonian Cheese Company in Stranraer.

The deal, which is estimated could net them an additional £13,000 to £15,000 a year, is expected to help the creamery advance its own expansion plans.

The three-month rolling contract with parent company Lactalis will replace the Wigtownshire farmers' deal with First Milk.

Talks have been going on in the background for months and the new deal will swing into effect from 1st April. Ninety farmers have opted to remain with First Milk.

It follows years of unrest at the low price paid for milk with  supermarkets taking most of the blame.

The agreement to supply Caledonian Cheese Company is understood to be based 90 per cent on milk quality. This has made it more attractive to some farmers than others.

Another plus point is a promised consistent price every month in 2007.

The firm approached farmers to sell direct because they were increasingly concerned about maintaining an adequate supply to the creamery in Stranraer.

Previously only six farmers directly supplied the creamery. The  remainder of their milk - approximately 200 million litres per year - came from First Milk.

One of the farmers who has signed up is John Watson, of High Mark Farm, Leswalt. He said:

"Lactalis have told us they plan to develop the plant in Stranraer to make more cheese and they were looking to get milk close at hand."

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