Pressure Mounts for Dairy Price Cut Reversal

SCOTLAND, UK - Pressure is mounting on milk processors and retailers to reverse all price cuts planned to hit dairy farmers in August and for recent cuts already in place to be rescinded.
calendar icon 24 July 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

The pressure comes as Scottish dairy farmers have sought and received the backing of consumers in their fight for a fair price. Farmers in Dumfries and Galloway met with shoppers at Morrisons, Iceland, Farm Foods and Lidl supermarkets in Dumfries at the weekend and producers from Highlands and the North East attended the opening of the new Asda store in Inverness this week.

The fight against milk price cuts is UK-wide. At the Royal Welsh Show, currently underway at Builth Wells, dairy farmer representatives have pledged to keep up the pressure for both planned price cuts and those already in place to be scrapped.

At the same time, progress on a code of conduct for the sector has been made. Headline terms of reference for the code will form the basis for further negotiations to take place in August, with NFUS insisting on an independent facilitator for those discussions. At the Welsh event, politicians agreed that should the voluntary code fail, then legislation will be necessary.

NFU Scotland is calling all Scottish dairy farmers to a meeting in Lanark Auction Mart on Monday, 30 July to update them on progress with prices, the code and routes to collaboration. The meeting will help establish what further action Scottish dairy farmers want to undertake.

Speaking from the Royal Welsh Show, NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller said: “Work with retailers and processors to reverse cuts in milk prices will be ramped up in the coming days as we seek to ensure that all dairy farmers – whether they are producing for fresh milk or dairy product markets – will receive a price that reflects the true worth of the milk.

“It is a clear reflection of the anger and frustration being felt at farm level that so many Scottish dairy farmers have already taken the time to discuss their plight face-to-face with consumers and having their backing has been gratifying.

“They want fresh local milk and dairy products in stores and fully accept that those doing the graft in looking after and milking their cows deserve a fair price.

“Dairy farmers are ill served by existing contractual arrangements with their milk buyers and today’s meeting in Wales saw headline terms of agreement for a code of practice for the sector laid out. These terms, looking at areas like exclusivity, termination and pricing, will now go forward to be negotiated in detail in August with, at our insistence, a facilitator aiding the process.

“Importantly, politicians have recognised that should the code fail to deliver much-needed stability and sustainability to producers, then legislation in this area will be considered.”

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