UK milk producers push for better deal, as colleagues quit

UNITED KINGDOM - Talks to get UK dairy farmers a better deal with supermarkets are expected to intensify over the next couple of weeks, as new figures show nearly 1,000 producers have quit the sector in the last year.
calendar icon 12 December 2006
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Producer associations are pushing retailers and dairy processors hard in the run-up to Christmas, to close what they say is a four pence gap in some cases between the average farmgate milk price and cost of production. The talks highlight how intense cost pressures continue to bite across many areas of the UK dairy industry.

Protests loom in the New Year if a deal cannot be made, but it is understood the National Farmers' Union (NFU), the largest dairy producer union, has refused to support any strike action.

Some believe such direct action would be lucky to get more than 10 per cent of UK dairy farmers participating.

Andrew Hemming, vice-president of Farmers For Action, a more activist producer association, said: “We're desperately trying to get something sorted with the supermarkets. They're beginning to understand that our production costs have gone up.”

Source: Dairy

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