Dairy farmers meet over milk crisis

Dairy farmers will take the next steps this week in their fight to secure fairer milk prices.

The potential of producer organisations to collectively market milk on behalf of farmers will be highlighted at a conference on Tuesday (21 August).

Held at Penrith, Cumbria, the event is being jointly organised by the NFU and the farm co-operative, First Milk.

Farm minister Jim Paice is due to speak at the event, which will also be addressed by NFU chief dairy adviser Rob Newbery and First Milk chief executive Kate Allum.

The government has earmarked some £5m to help farmers set up producer organisations, which it believes can help secure a better future for dairy farmers.

Mr Paice said: “They do not have to be big companies – they can be a marketing group, using the power of their supply to influence terms and conditions.”

The conference follows the latest round of milk price protests, with demonstrations at Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, and Market Drayton, Shropshire, on Friday (17 August).

Farmers For Action described the protests as a “gentle reminder” that dairy producers were determined to press for a fairer deal on milk price.

Protests also took place last week in Leicestershire and Northern Ireland.

Dairy processors Muller, Arla and Robert Wiseman Dairies were among the targets, as were retailers Farmfoods and Asda/Walmart.

Farmers For Action has pledged to step up protests against cut-price retailer Farmfoods and the main milk processors to recover money from the spring milk price cuts.

The NFU is setting up a database of dairy farmers interested in setting up producer organisations.

A 10-point plan to build a “fair and functioning” marketplace was agreed by farm leaders from across the dairy sector earlier this month.

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