Hundreds of dairy farmers block Morrisons Bridgwater depot for 24hrs

James Hole from Farmers For Action talks to hundreds of dairy farmers outside the Morrisons distribution Depot in Bridgwater about the current status regarding talks with the supermarket on cheese prices and imported dairy products. (Photo: http://www.demotix.com/)
James Hole from Farmers For Action talks to hundreds of dairy farmers outside the Morrisons distribution Depot in Bridgwater about the current status regarding talks with the supermarket on cheese prices and imported dairy products. (Photo: http://www.demotix.com/)
Around 60 lorries have so far backed up along various roads around the Morrisons Bridgwater depot as dairy farmers block the entrance over low cheese prices and imported dairy products. (Photo: http://www.demotix.com/)
Around 60 lorries have so far backed up along various roads around the Morrisons Bridgwater depot as dairy farmers block the entrance over low cheese prices and imported dairy products. (Photo: http://www.demotix.com/)

Hundreds of angry dairy farmers have once again blockaded Morrisons Bridgwater depot over a breakdown in discussions of fair milk and cheese prices. This time the farmers have vowed to stay for 24 hours or until a positive result is agreed by both. Read more.

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In no other industry would firms think it good to milk their best suppliers dry

Farmers have fought to win concessions on milk prices from the supermarkets. Illustration: David Simonds for the Observer
Farmers have fought to win concessions on milk prices from the supermarkets. Illustration: David Simonds for the Observer

Northern supermarket Booths sets a lot of store by paying farmers properly for milk, but most food retailers seem to regard the opposite as as a badge of honour.

As the row about the price of milk in Britain rages, the most sensible comments have come from the boss of northern supermarket chain Booths. “We see farmers not just as suppliers, but customers,” Chris Dee, chief executive of Booths, said last week. The northern base of the family-owned grocer is key, because Booths stores are often located at the centre of rural communities. “That means farmers have to make a profit, and we recognise that,” Dee added. “Otherwise we would be the bad guys in town.” Read more.

Tesco promises to use only British milk in its own-brand yoghurt

Tesco has agreed to use more British milk in its dairy products in another victory for farmers in their battle with supermarkets over treatment of suppliers. Britain’s biggest retailer has bowed to pressure and pledged that all its own-brand yoghurt will be produced with domestic milk from March 2016. Tesco currently uses milk from Germany in its yoghurts. The pledge from Tesco follows a meeting with Farmers For Action (FFA), the campaign group, and the National Farmers Union (NFU). On Sunday, demonstrators blockaded a Tesco distribution centre in Avonmouth, Gloucestershire, in protest at the amount of milk the company imports from outside Britain for use in dairy products. Read more.

VIDEO: Now it’s the Milk Bucket Challenge as protesting farmers wait for supermarket talks

The milk curtain (Photo: http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/)
The milk curtain (Photo: http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/)

Farmers still waiting for the promised increase in the price of milk they are paid from supermarkets have taken to tipping it over themselves to raise money for an agricultural support network. AS talks between farmers’ leaders, the supermarket bosses and ministers continue this week, farmers and country folk across the West are being nominated for a new challenge which copies the principle of last year’s Ice Bucket Challenge for charity. Dubbed the Milk Bucket Challenge, it sees participants line up – usually under a JCB – with the front bucket filled with milk poised overhead. Read more. 

Direct action… literally… Drinking competition hopes to put spotlight on milk

The Denbigh and Flint branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales is putting the spotlight on Welsh milk and lamb during this week’s county show by hosting a competition on who can drink a pint of milk and eat a Welsh lamb burger the fastest. The union will also be celebrating its 60 year history with a birthday cake and have a display of old county photographs. “We are very excited to be at this year’s Denbigh and Flint county show and are inviting visitors to come to the FUW stand for the Welsh milk and Welsh lamb competition and are also handing out free milk to visitors. Read more.

Milk price fall will create ‘mega-dairies’, warns MEP

Molly Scott Cato MEP joining a demonstration in front of the European Parliament organised by the European Milk Board (EMB) to protest at weaknesses in the follow-up to the ending of the milk quota system. (Photo: FarmingUK)
Molly Scott Cato MEP joining a demonstration in front of the European Parliament organised by the European Milk Board (EMB) to protest at weaknesses in the follow-up to the ending of the milk quota system. (Photo: FarmingUK)

The rise of mega-dairies will be the inevitable consequence of the fall in milk prices, according to the Green Party.

South West MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has warned that a combination of factors, including price wars, trade agreements and the ending of the European milk quota, threaten to send traditional small-scale dairy farmers to the wall and will usher in an era of milk and dairy products from giant dairies based outside the South West region and even outside the UK.

Dr Scott Cato is particularly critical of supermarket chains that are engaged in price wars and refuse to pay enough to cover the cost of milk production.

She said: “Some supermarkets are using arguments about the global market to embark on a race to the bottom in terms of pricing. This is an abdication of responsibility towards a crucial sector in the rural economy of the South West and other parts of the UK. Read more