Scottish dairy farmers rally over milk price cuts

Dairy farmers in Scotland are taking part in a further day of protests for fairer milk prices today (Thursday 26 July).

Protests are being staged outside milk processing plants and distribution centres and smaller discount retailers are also being targeted.

Farmers are gathering outside Farmfoods and Iceland stores in Inverurie, Peterhead and Forfar to speak to consumers.

Shoppers are being handed leaflets explaining the farmgate price does not cover production costs and that supermarkets are “creaming off a large percentage of the final price”.

They are being asked to fill in forms with their comments supporting farmers and these forms will be given to the managers at the end of the day.

The activity follows up dairy farmers action in Dumfries and Inverness where dairy farmers met with shoppers outside Asda, Morrisons, Iceland, Farmfoods and Lidl stores.

Most of the big supermarkets, including Asda, Morrisons, Lidl and the Co-operative, have bowed to pressure and agreed to raise prices following a number of protests by dairy farmers. However, Iceland and Farmfoods have not changed their prices.

NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said: “We want to talk to shoppers at Iceland and Farmfoods stores and urge them to put pressure on their retailer to play fair on milk prices.

“At the same time, we will engage with milk processors and ask them to properly reward those hard-working producers who are keeping their processing lines filled with milk.”

The union and other dairy farming organisations have called for all recent price cuts and those planned for August 1 to be reversed.

NFU Scotland milk committee chairman Gary Mitchell said the union remained committed to tackling the short-term crisis triggered by the “unprecedented level of damaging pressure on farmgate milk prices.

But in the long-term, a robust code of conduct that delivers much-needed balance to the contractual arrangements between farmers and their milk buyers was required, he added.

“We want to talk to shoppers at Iceland and Farmfoods stores and urge them to put pressure on their retailer to play fair on milk prices.”
Nigel Miller, NFU Scotland

“Longer-term, we must strengthen the hand of farmers to ensure that the positive work of the past few weeks is not undone and stronger producer,” he said.

Meanwhile, around 200 dairy farmers are gearing up for a protest at Robert Wiseman Dairies, in East Kilbride, Glasgow scheduled from 8pm onwards tonight (Thursday).

Dairy farmer John Cumming, from Stranraer, in Dumfries and Galloway, invited farmers to bring their tractors and trailers to the protest.

“We need a milk price that allows farmers to go forward, invest, but even to survive,” said Mr Cumming.

“The public understands this. The supermarkets are just greedy. They want all the profit but farmers are just going out of business and if we are not careful, all the milk in Britain will be imported very shortly.

“Farmers cannot sustain this unacceptable situation any longer.”

More on this topic

See our dedicated page on the milk price cuts