4 April 2000
‘5ppl more from today’ campaign

I HAVE read a considerable amount of hysteria about the plight of milk producers. I sympathise enormously with members of an industry which is being destroyed by forces over which it has no control .

I have read the NFU stance – “OK, members, the problem is partly the Pound and partly the negotiating weakness of the producers”.

The NFU says it hopes to negotiate a better deal, but dont expect more than something in the medium term.

What ineptness! – and how saddened I am that such an organisation can be so gutless while producers are left seeing their busineeses destroyed.

There is a short-term answer -campaign today and put the price up now.

Let the consumer judge whether he wants fresh milk, green fields and stability in the countryside by charging an extra 5ppl as of today and hand 100% back to the farmer producer immediately.

NFU – cut out the waffle and do the job now for members who elected you.

In anticipation of more waffle and dilly-dallying – do it now!

Also

  1. Make sure producers have a producers contract with a minimum cost-plus margin price costed by a reliable, recognised body;
  2. Make sure the contract specifies universally branded milk from our producers – e.g white perfection assured from teat to table…
  3. Exhort all producers to take up the contract and insistT on its take-up by all processors – if need be, defy the processors until they agree to it legally by every producer witholding supply to the minimum quantity that the existing contract specifies, and make them lose some money picking up silly little quantities of milk; i.e dump milk to the minimum amount to stay legal until such a time as the contracts are accepted throughout the industry.
  4. Producers, for the first time ever, stand up and be counted as one milk industry supporting one campaign, and all act together.
I am not militant, but I am seeing every day in my capacity as a farm financial specialist the traumas producers are facing – the nothing-to-pay-for-food syndrome, with wives in tears.

Some other tips:

  • Producers take over the transport of milk – cut out the five milk lorries at the crossroads syndrome and get in charge of the job and cut costs.
  • Look at all other farm products – every producer needs a cost-plus margin to survive; pigs, vegetables, you name the sector and see how they are being hammered.
  • Finally, NFU, why dont you sell the concept to Tony Blair. What better vehicle for saving the industry of farming, and ultimately removing the mountains of surplus in Europe, by having a commercial system based on cost-plus where the plus is related to the degree of demand.
Look at what the current mess is going to cost the goverment and how the damage and suffering could be sorted at a stroke – without any cost to the government.

Lets do it now.

  • Paul Johnson, Ilminster, Somerset Email: Johnsons@farmersweekly.net