The NFU and Farmers for Action will meet next week to discuss a future plan of action over the dairy milk crisis.

Farmers for Action said it welcomed the latest announcements by the main milk producer organisations that they were withdrawing plans to reduce prices paid for milk next month after more than a week of protests by farmers across the country.

But the group said decision by large producers, including Dairy Crest, First Milk, Arla Foods and Robert Wiseman Dairies, to delay or scrap milk price cuts of about 2p/litre scheduled for 1 August of “did not go far enough”.

David Handley, FFA chairman, said: “This sends a very strong message regarding unity in the dairy industry.

“The united coalition group together with united dairy farmers, supported by the media and general public, have taken us up the first step towards a sustainable dairy industry, for the future of the next generation of dairy farmers.”

Mr Handley said the coalition would meet again early next week to plan the next part of its strategy, which is to find the money taken off dairy farmers during the earlier milk price cuts of May/June 2012.

“We wish to assure all dairy farmers we will work tirelessly to achieve this and also to strengthen the coalition that it becomes the only body necessary to put in place the structures to take the dairy industry forward in future years,” he added.

After more than two weeks of campaigning by the dairy coalition, the NFU, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru, FFA, Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, Tenant Farmers Association and the Women’s Farming Union, Robert Wiseman Dairies – the last targeted milk processor – agreed to drop its planned price cut of 1.7p/litre on Friday (27 July), leaving its price to dairy farmers at 26.43p/litre.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: “I am immensely proud of what the coalition has achieved so far.

“In a little over two weeks we have seen the Co-operative, Morrisons and Asda agree to pay their farmers a price that covers their costs of production.

“With today’s announcement by Wiseman/Müller, joining First Milk, Dairy Crest and Arla from yesterday, I am also pleased to say the planned milk price cuts by all of the major dairy processors have now been rescinded before the August 1 deadline. This was one of our key goals when we set out and we have achieved it.”
Peter Kendall, NFU president

“With today’s announcement by Wiseman/Müller, joining First Milk, Dairy Crest and Arla from yesterday, I am also pleased to say the planned milk price cuts by all of the major dairy processors have now been rescinded before the August 1 deadline. This was one of our key goals when we set out and we have achieved it.”

Mr Kendall said the latest announcements would bring some relief for dairy farmers, who supply liquid milk to Arla, First Milk, Dairy Crest and Wiseman/ Müller.

But he vowed to continue working hard behind the scenes to ensure these first steps turn into a longer-term, sustainable milk price for all dairy farmers.

“For the coalition the work continues,” he said. “I am conscious that the milk price cuts from June are still in place but rest assured we will continue in talks with the processors to work towards returning that lost money. We will meet to discuss next steps.”

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