West Midlands milk price protests planned

Dairy farmers in the West Midlands are gearing up for further protests against milk price cuts.

Protests are due to take place at Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire; and Market Drayton, Shropshire; on Friday (17 August).

The demonstrations follow similar protests earlier this week in Leicestershire and Northern Ireland.

Some 300 dairy producers gathered at 7.50pm outside the Ashby de la Zouch facility on Wednesday evening (15 August), blockading the plant into the night.

The five-hour protest was co-ordinated by Farmers For Action, which is calling for the reversal of milk price cuts imposed on producers earlier this year.

The pressure group has already succeeded in persuading supermarkets and dairy processors to abandon milk price cuts that were due to come into effect this month.

Meanwhile, farmers protested outside Asda-Walmart in Cookstown, County Tyrone, on Thursday (16 August).

Protestors accuse Asda-Walmart and other large corporate retailers of forcing producers to accept farmgate prices that are lower than the cost of production.

Retail sales of liquid milk increased by 1.1% in the year to 10 June, representing an additional 53.6m litres, according to analyst Kantar WorldPanel.

But a 1% drop in the average retail price meant value sales remained fairly static at £3.3bn.

Dairy farmers face a difficult autumn and winter, with increases in feed prices set to force up milk production costs.

Many already receive around 25p/litre for milk that costs well over 30p/litre to produce.

Direct action by dairy farmers against milk price cuts, which began with a night of protests on 19 July, has now entered its fifth week.

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