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MP’s join in dairy farmers’ battle

Tuesday 18th September 2012 (Andrew Griffiths)

MP’s covering Uttoxeter and the surrounding area have waded into the price row surrounding Staffordshire dairy farmers, demanding they receive fair payment for their milk.

As the saga continues over how much dairy farmers receive for their milk, Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths and Bill Cash, who covers Checkley, Tean and Alton, have joined the debate in the House of Commons.

The battle over milk prices came to head during the summer, with protestors taking to the streets of Uttoxeter and demonstrating at milk suppliers, including supermarkets, to make their voices heard.

Although the situation has now improved with the broad principles of a deal to provide farmers with more bargaining power having been agreed following Government talks with farmers and processors, Mr Griffiths remained unimpressed, dismissing it as a ‘short-term win’ for farmers.

Mr Griffiths said: “The supermarkets and processors must be left in no doubt how seriously we intend to take the issue.

“We got to this point because dairy farmers felt that they had no choice. They were faced with a further 2p cut in their prices, and that was a cut too far.

They would not have been able to survive. Dairy farming would not have been sustainable at that level.

“In a lot of cases having had the 2.5p reinstated, many dairy farmers are still only meeting the cost of production. In what other industry do we expect producers to sell their product at the cost of production? “That is absolutely unsustainable, which is why it is so important that we, as a Parliament and as a society, get behind our dairy farmers. If we do not, we will lose the industry for ever.” Mr Cash (pictured) said: “Dairy farmers work incredibly hard, and I was pleased to meet my dairy farmers at the Central Hall rally in Westminster a few weeks ago.

“I have had several meetings during the past few weeks and I entirely agree with all their arguments, which extend not only to the cost of milk and the price that they get for it but to TB and how, as a result of the legal decision in the High Court this week, we will be having further progress on that shortly.”

Lower Loxley farmer David Brookes, chairman of the Uttoxeter and Burton branch of the National Farming Union, said: “We have to feel a lot better than we did three months ago as things are moving in the right direction. The processors now need to sharpen their pencils and deliver.”

In more good news for farmers, it was announced last week that they are to receive a ‘substantial’ rise in the price of milk after a deal was struck with Muller UK.

The food manufacturer, which owns Robert Wiseman Dairies, has agreed to increase the price it pays to 29p per litre

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