Milk price impact on dairy producers & consumers forms focus of student research

Professor Michael Lee, Rebecca Payne and Grace Hall. Image: Harper Adams University

The impact of milk prices upon dairy producers, retailers and consumers over the decades is set to be examined by a Harper Adams University student for her Honours Research Project.

Grace Hall, a final-year BSc (Hons) Agri-Food Marketing with Business student from Atherstone, Warwickshire, will be looking at the links between milk prices and how they affect each part of the food supply chain for her project.

She will be working through prices using a data series that runs back over decades to see where changes occurred – and to try to understand what impact they had and what lessons could be learned.

Having grown up on a dairy farm herself, the subject is of keen interest to Grace  – and her work has already secured recognition from her lecturers and peers at the inaugural Food and Business Research Mini-Conference held at Harper Adams. Grace was awarded a prize for the best overall presentation.

She said: “When I came to look at dissertation topics, I saw this one – price transmission – come up. I contacted the tutor to discuss it, and having already got a background in dairy, I thought I would look at that.

“We will be working with two datasets, and ultimately the hope is to try to see the details of any relationship between the prices paid to producers and by consumers and their impact.

“I think that producer prices are an issue – the way that price changes affect milk producers shows that – and these changes have an influence on people’s livelihoods.

“It is really important for us to have a dairy industry in this country – it supports a lot of people’s careers, which is so important. So many people graduate from universities like Harper Adams and will go on to work in the sector – and that relies on dairy producers being there.

“If they can’t keep going, that is not a good thing!”

Grace’s research forms part of her final year of study at Harper Adams – which she set her heart upon after visiting her sister, who also studied at the University.

She said: “When I came to visit her, I got a feel for the campus and setting – it was only one of two unis I actually put down on my UCAS form!

“The rural setting, having grown up on a farm, was familiar to me.

“I can’t fault it – the course is specialised and offers you so much variation. It has been really interesting and very varied – and the course offers you a lot of different modules to choose from, which I like!”

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