FARMERS' co-operative First Milk has delivered a strong set of financial results with net profits up by nearly a quarter in the year to the end of March 2021.

The group, which announced a £3.5m investment in its Haverfordwest creamery on March 1, also doubled its member premium on milk supplies.

Key highlights include:

• Group turnover up 6 per cent to £299.5m (2020: £282.8m)

• Operating profit up 8 per cent to £8.1m (2020: £7.5m)

• Net profit up 24 per cent to £5.6m (2020: £4.5m)

• Capital investment of £7.8m in the year (2020: £5.3m)

• Net bank borrowings stable at £33m (2020: £33.1m)

• Member premium increased to 0.5ppl (2020: 0.25ppl)

• Announced commitment to Net Zero 2040 and launched a leading regenerative agriculture programme

• 93 per cent of members signed First4Milk Pledge

Chief executive, Shelagh Hancock, said: “In what was an extraordinary year, we were able to rapidly adapt and respond positively to the challenges we faced and continued to make good progress throughout the year.

"As a result, I am pleased to report increased turnover and operating profits, significantly increased capital investment at our sites, and continued progress in generating value for our members.

“As a co-operative business, we are committed to working together to regenerate the earth every day to enrich life and nourish future generations. "We have seen 93 per cent of our members voluntarily sign up to our First4Milk Pledge – a broader commitment to sustainable dairy including guaranteeing cows’ access to pasture and enhancing biodiversity.

"To this end, we have progressed our sustainability agenda at pace further this year, committing to Net Zero by 2040, launching an ambitious regenerative agriculture programme with our members and embarking on a world-leading soil carbon assessment programme.

“We have also committed to our largest capital investment programme to date for the year ahead, which will see us invest £14.4m in our sites to further improve operational capability. Overall, we have delivered promising progress and our vision remains clear – together, we will deliver dairy prosperity.”