Dairy farmers plan day of protests across Europe

Dairy farmers across Europe are planning a day of protests to demand EU action over the slumping prices they are being paid for milk.

Thousands of dairy farmers are expected to take part in rallies on Thursday 12 November, led by the European Milk Board (EMB).

Protests have already been confirmed in Denmark, Ireland, France, Italy, Iceland, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

See also: Dairy farmers projected to lose 4.1p/litre for 2015

“The crisis in the milk market has been able to spread like wildfire because there is no crisis instrument to counter it,” said the EMB in a statement.

Dairy farmer rallies across Europe

(To be held on 12 November unless stated)

  • Symbolic balloon demo against “feeble” EU policy – Outrup, Denmark
  • “EU policy is cutting off the air supply to milk production” – Mont St Michel, France (to include call for parallel demos in the regions)
  • “NO to the dairy sector without a crisis instrument” tractor blockade of motorways – Italy
  • “Your policy ignores us dairy farmers and is ruining us!” – Outside parliament in The Hague, Netherlands
  • Warning fire on the eve of the Day of Action – 11 November at Gutsbetrieb Freudenberg, Switzerland

It continued: “Every country in Europe is affected – all dairy farmers fight for their survival and for the preservation of milk-producing regions.

“By means of strong, symbolic actions, farmers will make clear that they do not accept the current ignorant dairy policy.”

The EMB, a federation of European dairy farmers and farmers’ lobbies, said the protests would send a strong message to the European Commission ahead of its Agriculture Council meeting, to be held in Brussels on 16-17 November.

“Put the Market Responsibility Programme [an instrument that counters crises in the milk sector] into action as a crisis instrument in the market,” it added.

NFU chief dairy adviser Sian Davies told Farmers Weekly on Friday (6 November) that she was not aware of any protests currently being planned in the UK.

“There has been more money pushed back in the chain in the UK in recent weeks, which has held milk prices up, but that hasn’t happened elsewhere in Europe,” said Ms Davies.

“If dairy farmers in the UK had not got that extra money this summer there would have been even worse problems.

“That said, it is still going to be a really difficult winter for dairy farmers. The cows are coming in and the costs are creeping up.

“No one can carry on milking cows for long at a milk price as low as 14-15p/litre and there is no sign of any recovery soon.”

Ms Davies said measures were needed to help farmers manage the ups and downs in dairy market volatility in the long-term.

“We need to look at ways of trying to protect the markets for yoghurts, cheddar and powdered milk, which are open to the effects of imports and exports,” she added.

Nigel Batten, west Wales spokesman for Farmer For Action (FFA), said he was not aware of any protests being planned by FFA on 12 November.

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