21 March 2000
Milk protest — too little, too late

I HAVE just read an article on FWi concerning the threat of dairy farmers dumping milk for two days later on this month in protest at the price of milk dropping to 15ppl (Dairy farmers threaten to dump milk, FWi, 07 March, 2000).

It seems that it is too little, too late to make a difference, because a number of dairy farmers are faced with having to discard milk over this period of the quota year due to reasons that I need not to go into.

In June 1999 a group of dairy farmers suggested doing exactly the same thing, but over a three-day period in the month of August, as it would have made maximum impact to the dairies, and at that time of the year it would of received greater publicity than at present when milk is in abundance.

Calls were made to make this a national campaign and it received great support from individual farmers contacted, but what it lacked was co-ordination and somebody or a group to front the campaign, as farmers feared retribution from the dairies.

Had this course of action been taken at the time, worries about the country being over quota would have been put into perspective, and armchair producers would now be the ones with worries, not, as ever, the dairy farmer.

Action at that time might have resulted us not having yet another cut in our diabolical milk price.

To summarise, milk will continue to be poured down drains in March as it is most years, and the dairies will continue to persecute producers until there will not be an industry fit to speak of.

What is required is unilateral support, and dairy farmers to have the spine to stand up to the dairies as an industry, and make the public aware of the fact that milk is the bread-and-butter of rural families, and helps conserve our rapidly disappearing countryside – and not just a white liquid that falls out of a box on to cornflakes in the morning.

  • Johnny Bartlett
    Email: johnnyb@farmersweekly.net