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

Farming supply chain ‘is not working’ as summit urges action

Farming union leaders have welcomed the UK farm ministers’ acknowledgement that the supply chain is not working and that urgent measures are required to address the immediate farming crisis.
At a meeting yesterday, there was recognition that this is not just a crisis in the dairy sector but is impacting most farmers across the board with the lamb sector also being particularly hard hit. The meeting of the UK farm ministers, held at Defra’s office in London was also attended by the Presidents of the NFU, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru and Ulster Farmers Union. A series of actions were agreed which retailers and the food service sector should commit to urgently. These include; clearer country of origin labelling; clarity on sourcing policies; better, more consistent promotion of British food and, from the government, delivery of its public procurement food policy. Read more

Where should you buy a pint of milk to support farmers?

No-one said being an ethical dairy consumer was easy (Photo: BBC)
No-one said being an ethical dairy consumer was easy (Photo: BBC)

It is a question plenty of people ask: “I want to support British dairy farmers so where should I get my milk from?” The answer is a complicated one and it reveals some of the deeper problems everyone is grappling with in the dairy industry.
The simplest answer is buy it from the farmer. Industry bible Farmers Weekly has an interactive map which shows dairy farms that also sell direct to customers. A local farm shop is also likely to sell you a good product at a price that’s fair to farmers. A traditional milkman could well be a good option, but you’ll have to do your research. Many milkmen are supplied by a company called Dairy Crest, our biggest milk processor, which currently pays below what farmers claim is the cost of production. But you can find independent milkmen who pay more to farmers, companies such as Moofresh which delivers across northern Birmingham and beyond. Read more.

ARLA WELCOMES ASDA’S PRICE INCREASE & COMMITMENT TO SIGN-UP TO ITS FARMER-OWNED MARQUE

First major grocery retailer customer to agree nationwide pledge across all its liquid fresh milk Industry-leading British cheddar labelling introduced to help customers to support British dairy farmers Arla Foods UK has today confirmed that Asda’s increased price that it pays for milk, which came into effect this morning, will be shared directly with its farmer owners including 3,000 in the UK.

The retailer’s commitment to carry Arla’s new farmer-owned marque from the autumn on all of its own label fresh liquid milk along with new British cheddar labelling is also welcomed by Arla as a clear demonstration of Asda’s continuing and long-term commitment to British farming. Read more.

Certification: genuine, or just a PR piece? Photo: http://www.arlafoods.co.uk/
Certification: genuine, or just a PR piece? Photo: http://www.arlafoods.co.uk/

Russia removes ban on imports of dairy products from 29 companies in New Zealand

© ITAR-TASS/Ruslan Shamukov
© ITAR-TASS/Ruslan Shamukov

From Monday, 29 companies in New Zealand are allowed to supply dairy product ingredients to Russia. That is according to a statement of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance /Rosselkhoznadzor/.

“Rosselkhoznadzor has decided from August 17, 2015 to remove temporary restrictions on deliveries of a number of dairy products ingredients from 29 companies in New Zealand,” the watchdog said. The regulator said it made the decision after studying the date provided by the Veterinary Service of New Zealand. Read more.

Milk price row: Farmers and ministers in ‘productive’ talks

NFU president Meurig Raymond said the meeting lasted a lot longer than the one-hour slot it had been scheduled for (Photo: BBC)
NFU president Meurig Raymond said the meeting lasted a lot longer than the one-hour slot it had been scheduled for (Photo: BBC)

Farming leaders and ministers say they have held “productive” talks on the future of dairy farming in the UK following protests over milk prices. Ministers met farming representatives in London, in the wake of dozens of protests in recent weeks. Environment Secretary Liz Truss said she wanted better labelling of British produce in supermarkets. The National Farmers’ Union said the government was sending the “right messages” but protests would continue.
It said farmers were still “desperate”. NFU president Meurig Raymond said he was hopeful minsters would be “talking to everyone in the supply chain” to promote British produce in the supermarkets, and to “come up with fairer contracts”. Read more.

Milk prices: Asda price rise a positive move, UFU says

The situation remains "dire" for dairy farmers, UFU president Ian Marshall says (Photo: BBC)
The situation remains “dire” for dairy farmers, UFU president Ian Marshall says (Photo: BBC)

A decision by supermarket chain Asda to increase the price it pays for milk is a move in the right direction, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has said.
Some dairy farmers have said they face going out of business if prices they receive for their products do not rise. They have held protests at supermarkets to show their frustration that they are currently paid less than the cost of production.
Asda has said it will begin paying 28p a litre for milk from Monday. Dairy farmers currently receive about 19p a litre for milk, well below the cost of production at about 27p. Asda confirmed on Friday that it had told Dale Farm, its Northern Ireland supplier, that it will increase the price it pays to 28p a litre.
It said this would “assist our farmers during the current crisis”. Read more