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Scotland Farming Unions Meet to Discuss ‘Deteriorating Dairy Sector’
August 3, 2015

Representatives of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, NFU and the National Farmers Union of Scotland met in Belfast to discuss the deteriorating situation in the dairy sector.

Speaking after the meeting UFU President Ian Marshall said: “International dairy markets are working against our hard working dairy farmers and the focus must be turned on the responsibility of retailers and others in the supply chain. Looking at AHDB dairy figures on butter and cheese prices it is evident that there have been huge falls in the wholesale price in the last 12 months. Wholesale butter prices have fallen by 28 per cent while wholesale mild cheddar has fallen by 25 per cent. At the same time the retail price of butter has increased marginally by 0.1 per cent increase while the retail value of cheese has fallen, but only by 3.4 per cent.

“The simple question now is who is making money from cheese and butter – as it’s clearly not our farmers ,some of which have seen a 50 per cent fall in farmgate prices over the same period”

“We’ve seen consumers say that they are willing to pay more for milk as long as farmers get their fair share too. There is a need to respect the mutual reliance that exists within the supply chain. Retailers must act in an ethical and responsible way to support farmers, processors and consumers and ensure that there is enough value being passed down the supply chain on all dairy products. The Farming Unions will continue to engage with retailers to call for genuine support for farmers.”

Farmers clearing shelves at supermarkets to protest low prices

Dairy farmers are protesting the prices paid to them for the milk they produce by clearing the shelves at Morrisons supermarkets.

The farmers argue the prices Morrisons pay for their milk is far too low. Michael Sadwick, who led one protest in Bude, described Morrisons as “one of the main culprits we’ve been told to target”.

“We cleared the lot and yeah they’re left with none now, so it’s mission accomplished for us,” he said. “Hopefully, the message will get back to their buyers that, you know, they need to support us.”

Nick Thompson, who took part in the protest, said: “We just filled up the trolleys and walked to the checkout with them and then said we were leaving them there in protest at the unfair price supermarkets are paying for milk.”

“We had a meeting on Monday night with around 60-odd people there from right across South Gloucestershire.

“We wanted to protest, but we didn’t want to block the roads or do anything that might really annoy the public, but we wanted to get our message across.

“We decided this is the best way. In all the supermarkets the support we received from the public was great, but the staff were just shocked.

“People were standing there filming us on their phones.

“We lay down the challenge to other farmers’ groups across the country to do better than we’ve done – can they empty the shelves in the quickest time.

“We actually failed in Tesco, there was too much milk and not enough of us, so that is the challenge – can any group empty the shelves in Tesco? We’re going to keep doing this protest until supermarkets realise they have to start paying farmers a fair price for their milk.”

Over the last three months a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes trying to find solutions to the current crisis the industry faces. This has involved all the farming organisations working together.

It has proved to be very slow and very difficult but no one ever pretended that to find long term solutions to the industry’s problems was going to be an easy one. Unfortunately a lot of this work has not been able to be shared with you our members due to sensitivity of the complexities involved in finding answers for both the short term and long term issues facing all sectors within the British farming industry.

We had hoped that most people would have been patient but we understand the pressures that are put on business and family when income levels have fall to an all time low, and this has brought out some frustration amongst a minority of members.

“Next, retailers and food service industry have to be made to realise if they want to stack it high and sell it cheap it all comes out of their profits not our pockets,” the FFA said.

“Their job first of all is to pay the true cost of production to every single farmer in the land.

“To remain loyal in the first instance to British produce, milk, lamb, beef, pork, chicken & eggs, fruit and vegetables before they even consider imports into the UK purely and simply for their profit not to the benefit of consumers.

“To that end again the coalition is trying to bring around this mindset within this sector but again, very shortly we will be expecting to call you to assist us in this goal with communication with the consumer, explaining exactly what producing great British produce entails and I am afraid to say also to jump on your tractor and support peaceful protest aimed at those who refuse to negotiate and make sure that every single farming family in this land can make a profit. They have a corporate responsibility to do this.

“We are an island and there have been times in history when food has been short, increasing imports only increases the risk to food security.

“We hope this helps everyone understand where we stand at this moment in time and we at FFA fully accept that perhaps we have not kept our members as fully informed as we should have. To that end we will improve on this very quickly so you all know the progress that is being made.”

 

Source – The Dairy Site

 

 


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