4 September 2000
NFU joins calls for 3p more for milk

By FWi staff

THE National Farmers Union has followed the lead of more militant producers in calling for a 3p/litre rise in the price farmers receive for milk.

NFU deputy president Tim Bennett said positive indicators in the milk market mean the time is right for an increase of between 2-3p/litre by October.

This echoes calls for a 3p/litre increase by the Farmers for Action group, which favours direct action to achieve its objectives.

In the past the NFU and FFA have clashed over the best way to secure a better milk price for dairy farmers.

On Monday (04 Sep) Mr Bennett said increases in commodity prices for skimmed milk, cheese, and butter must be passed to producers.

A reduction of intervention stocks to the point of being non-existent, and a run down of stock also made the time ripe for an increase, said Mr Bennett.

Mr Bennett warned: If prices do not rise farmers will go out of business because banks will not allow overdrafts to rise.

Many farmers will decide to get out saying they are not going to sell milk for nothing.

Last week FFA said NFU president Ben Gill complained that FFA lobbying persuading retailers that prices were unsustainable, jeopardised other negotiations.

Earlier, a leaked report revealed that the Dairy Industry Federation pledged to support NFU in dealings with FFA members.

The minutes state that the NFU was “disconcerted by the apparent willingness of supermarkets to meet FFA representatives”.

On Friday (01 Sep) FFA reacted with anger to news that the Express Milk Partnership was announcing a price rise from October of 1p/litre.

Express Milk offered to meet FFA representatives after the group blockaded three depots over the weekend.

The average milk price in 1999 was the lowest for 10 years. This year they have fallen yet further to just 15.34p/litre, according to official figures.