NFU SCOTLAND president John Kinnaird has said that dairy farmers are staging blockades at depots because they have reached “the end of their tether”.
Scottish producers have blockaded nine milk tanker depots in protest at the fact that only a fraction of recent increases in the retail price of milk have been passed back to producers.
More than 200 farmers in England have also staged similar protests at two Arla depots during the early hours of Thursday morning (Aug 4). Two arrests were made at the demonstration at Sheffield Park in East Sussex.
Farmers For Action chairman David Handley has already warned that more demonstrations will follow.
“These are indeed desperate measures and milk supplies will run short as previously demand was outstripping supply and this action will cause further shortages,” he said. “Our actions and aims are clear, all we want is fair trade for dairy producers.”
Mr Kinnaird said nobody wanted to see a disruption in milk supplies but farmers were thinking the unthinkable.
The NFUS has not been involved in the organisation of the protests but has acknowledged that its members have been out on the picket lines.
“The fact that dairy farmers are themselves considering unprecedented steps is a clear sign they have reached the end of their tether,” said Mr Kinnaird.
“Quite simply, those family businesses left producing milk in this country will disappear unless retailers and milk processors realise that they must pay a fair price.”
The Scottish farmers are understood to have blockaded nine depots owned by First Milk, Robert Wiseman Dairies, Milk Link and Sorn Milk.
The sites are at Bellshill, Stranraer, Aryshire, Mauchline, Campelltown, Lockerbie and Cairnplace.
The protests started at 6am and were due to end at midday and have involved stopping milk tankers from leaving the sites so they could not pick up milk from farms and take it to the processors.