Dairy protesters call for reinforcements

Pressure group Farmers For Action has issued an urgent call for more milk producers to help blockade dairy plants in the Midlands and East Anglia.

It comes as a blockade of the Dairy Crest plant at Foston, Derbyshire, enters its second day after beginning on Wednesday (25 July).

Farmers For Action said it needed more farmers to blockade the Foston plant – as well as Dairy Crest facilities at Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire; and Stonehouse, Gloucestershire.

“Any heavy equipment, not just agri-machinery, would be greatly apreciated at these sites”, said an update on the Farmers For Action website.

The pressure group claims the Fenstanton plant was shut all night.

“The guys there desperately need reinforcements so that some can go home, again please help if you can,” the website says.

Earlier, Farmers For Action pledged to step up protests ahead of a 1 August deadline imposed by farm leaders for a reversal of all milk price cuts.

Thousands of dairy farmers have piled the pressure on processors to reverse price cuts of up to 4p/litre which they claim will drive them out of business.

A coalition of farm groups has brought together the NFU, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru, the Tenant Farmers’ Association, Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers and Farmers For Action.

NFU president Peter Kendall said protests by dairy farmers against the cuts would continue.

“The farming community is more united than ever before and the strength of feeling on this dairy issue is increasing and not decreasing,” he said.

A week of blockades has seen Britain’s retail giants increase the price they pay farmers for milk. But processors have yet to open their wallets.

Mr Kendall said the coming week would see the dairy coalition pull out all the stops to ensure processors in the middle of the supply chain pulled the August cuts.

“This now has to be our focus. Those 1 August cuts by the three large processors, Dairy Crest, Wisemans/ Muller and Arla must not happen.”

Talks with processors are continuing in the hope that a deal can be done.

But a Dairy Crest spokeswoman said: “We’re unable to say anything in terms of an official statement at the moment.”

For more on milk price cuts

See our dedicated page on the milk price crisis