3 March 2000

Campaign aim is to spell out dairy realities

A TWO week NFU campaign to highlight the plight of the dairy industry and show the public how low the farmers "share" of the overall cost of a bottle of milk actually is, has begun this week.

North-west producers launched the action by marching through Carlisle on Wednesday. Today (Fri), a national milk roadshow will start its journey down the country to London, stopping at major centres along the way.

It will finish in London on Mar 15 where farmers will lobby MPs.

The roadshow will take the following route: Wrexham – Mar 3; Cardiff – Mar 4; Southampton – Mar 6; Lewes – Mar 7; Bromley – Mar 8; Gloucester – Mar 9; Swindon – Mar 10; Huddersfield; Mar 13; Hertfordshire – Mar 14; London – Mar 15.

Meanwhile, the Small and Family Farmers Alliance leader Mike Hart will launch Farm Drive 2000 – his bid to draw attention to the crisis facing family farms. He is inviting other farmers to join him for all or part of his 300-mile tractor journey starting from Truro in Cornwall at 10am on Sunday March 5th and arriving at the Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday March 8th. He hopes too that farmers from other regions will organise tractor drives to reach London at the same time.

Offers of help, including overnight accommodation, to Tel/fax: 01726 843 647.

But seasoned campaigner Rhys Parry, believes much tougher action will be taken in coming weeks. Mr Parry said recent meetings had shown despairing dairy farmers were 100% in support of direct action to include blockading dairy depots as well as withholding milk for at least two days.

&#8226 For more on the milk price crisis see Business, p17.