11 October 2000
Farmers go back to classroom

By FWi staff

FARMERS representatives returned to school on Wednesday (11 October) to lend their support to National School Milk Day.

The initiative aims to provide free milk for a day for 1000 primary schools in England and Wales and show the importance of school milk to parents, teachers and MPs.

National Farmers Union deputy president Tim Bennett was in the classroom at Temple Guiting primary school, Gloucestershire, to help distribute milk, and promotional T-shirts.

And in Wales, NFU Cymru farmers went back to the classroom at Ruabon in Wrexham, Ystradgynlais in Swansea and Crymych in Pembrokeshire.

The day is organised by animal feed manufacturer ABN in conjunction with the Daily Express newspaper and more than a dozen leading dairies.

Mr Bennett said “There is no better way of convincing parents and teachers of the benefits of school milk than to witness kids getting an enjoyable, nutritious drink.

“Our overall aim is to get back to a situation where every child receives the benefit of a daily dairy product in school.”

In Edinburgh, the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) was due to mark the day by targeting the Scottish Parliament.

It hoped to get a commitment for necessary top-up funding to maintain the provision of school milk in nursery and primary schools.

Following the European Commissions review of the School Milk Subsidy Scheme last year, the level of European funding has been cut from 95% to 75%.

Member States have the option to provide the additional 20% funding to keep the subsidy at the same the level.

Meanwhile the NFUS accused British dairy trade of creaming off profits from a buoyant commodity markets.

Union milk committee chairman Ian Kerr said dairies were offering farmers 1 and 2ppl more, while prices to consumers increased by 4ppl.

“It is evident that dairy companies are profiteering at the expense of the dairy farmer,” said Mr Kerr.

He said anything less than a 2ppl increase should not be tolerated.