Dairy farmers in the north switched their attention to Robert Wiseman Dairies at Trafford Park, Manchester on Thursday night (26 July) with a peaceful but determined protest in the on-going campaign.

Wiseman is the only major dairy that has so far refused to make any changes to their milk price cuts.

But the farmers who gathered at the depot’s two main entrances said they also were delivering a message that had as much to do with the future viability of the dairy farmers present.

As many farmers at the meeting agreed – it was a viability not only dependent upon the rapid cancellation of the current round of price cuts, but a rise in the milk price to take immediate effect.

The Wiseman gathering was the first in the North West for a group of northern milk producers that have so far been concentrating on dairies further east.

“We want all price cuts rescinded and the imminent cuts withdrawn, but we’ve also got to have an increase in the producer price to give us some long-term stability and make our dairy farms viable. That’s the real issue that has to be addressed.”
Nigel Watson

It saw farmers from Lancashire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire and surrounding counties.

One of the furthest travelled was East Yorkshire milk producer Nigel Watson from Driffield in East Yorkshire.

“I am the third generation to milk cows on our farm and yet we are now regularly discussing whether or not we should stay in milk,” he told Farmers Weekly.

“I never thought we’d get to this stage but no dairy farmer can continue to produce milk at below the cost of production.

“We want all price cuts rescinded and the imminent cuts withdrawn, but we’ve also got to have an increase in the producer price to give us some long-term stability and make our dairy farms viable. That’s the real issue that has to be addressed.”

Thursday’s protest at Wiseman saw a large number of younger farmers and even entire families proudly carrying banners and placards.

One protester said: “The next generation are committed enough to come and make a stand tonight. But if we end up with an industry lurching from crisis to crisis who knows how long it will be before they see no future in milking cows for a living.”

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For more on the milk price crisis