4 February 2000
Producers ‘at boiling point’ over milk prices
By FWi staff
DAIRY companies could be the target of widespread protests unless they offer better milk prices, a grassroots farmers leader has warned.
Feeling among producers across the country has reached boiling point, and behind-the-scenes plans for action are underway, claims former Devon National Farmers Union president Richard Haddock.
Mr Haddock, who missed out on a place at the NFU top table this week, said although he had not heard details, he was worried about the form action could take.
“Dairy companies, the major processors now, want to start looking to pay farmers a fair price otherwise they are just causing a problem.
Farmers have their backs against the wall, Mr Haddock told the Radio 4 Farming Today programme.
“The message Im getting is watch this space.
“What happens when theres no British milk to put on your cornflakes? Thats when people will realise whats happened to the British industry.”
Dairy farmers have been hit by the end of the calf processing scheme, which paid compensation for worthless bull calves.
Payments for older cows going into the over-thirty-months scheme – which pays a fixed rate not linked to quality – have added to problems.
A drop in the price paid for milk has struck a third blow.
Meanwhile, farmers demonstrated against cheap New Zealand lamb and French diary produce at Safeway distribution centres, on Thursday night (3 February).
Depots at Bristol and Warrington were blockaded by 500 producers, who prevented lorries from entering and leaving in a bid to persuade the supermarket to withdraw these lines.
Safeway is reported to have given Warrington protestors an assurance that some of the offending lines would be removed. Bristol protesters are due to meet store chiefs today.