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Farmers threaten action as producers cut payment

Monday 9th July 2012 (Andrew Griffiths)

DAIRY farmers from Staffordshire and Derbyshire are to travel to London to protest at further cuts to the cash they are paid for milk which has left them struggling to make ends meet.

The Mail reported on Friday how farmers in the region were outraged by proposals that the price paid to them is to be cut.

Farmers feel so strongly about the cuts, which will see them lose 1.7p per litre, following a similar 2p cut earlier this year, they are to lobby in the capital next week.

The reduced prices mean the average farmer gets less than 25p a litre for milk which costs 30p a litre to produce.

Burton’s MP Andrew Griffiths has described the dairy industry as being ‘in crisis’ and farmers have warned that should nothing come of the protests, they may be forced to take strike action.

Mr Griffiths spoke on the issue during a debate in Parliament .

He said: “The dairy industry is in crisis.

Dairy farmers in my constituency faced a 2p cut in June and face a further 2p cut in August. That is unsustainable. Is it not time for a code of conduct so that our dairy farmers get a fair price?”

A hastily-called meeting was set up at the request of members of the Uttoxeter, Abbots Bromley and Burton branch of the National Farmers Union at the Staffordshire County Fairground, and was attended by 550 farmers from across the country all concerned by their current plight.

Chairman David Brookes, a dairy farmer in Uttoxeter, said: “No other industry would put up with this. It’s gone too far. Something needs to be done to address the issue. It cannot continue, it isn’t sustainable.

“This is just the start of the process. If nothing comes of it, members will look at taking direct action. Why should we be put at risk?”

Referring to the meeting in Staffordshire, Mr Brookes added: “It shows the strength of feeling from farmers that something was started in this area that has been taken up nationally to try to resolve this and get a better outcome for farmers.”

Farmers will travel to London this week, on a day yet to be confirmed.

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