DERBYSHIRE: Farmers hit back at milk price freeze

Roger Marriott with his vending machine at Woodthorpe Grange Farm
Roger Marriott with his vending machine at Woodthorpe Grange Farm
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Derbyshire farmers are rallying against a decision by milk processors to freeze the price they pay them for milk.

Angry dairy farmers are claiming they are paid an average of 31p per litre for milk, which costs between 33p and 35p per litre to produce – with prices not set to go up in September or October.

Paul Rowbottom, co-ordinator of the Derbyshire branch of Farmers for Action, said: “We should be given a fair price for our products. We should be able to make a living.

“We need to get our price to above 33p. Obviously some people are doing better than others, but some people are getting just 28p per litre.”

He cited increased running costs as a problem many dairy farmers across the region are facing, despite milk prices being at an all-time high.

But Old Tupton farmer, Roger Marriott is hopeful for a better deal.

He said: “I think prices will go up. At the moment it is better than it has been.

“The Government has appointed this ombudsman so we should start seeing that supermarkets are being watched a bit more.”

He added: “I think it is more positive than it has been in a while.”

But Farmers for Action said they plan to continue to picket milk processing plants in the region, following a demonstration in Foston last week when farmers used tractors and other farm machinery to blockade Dairy Crest’s factory.

Commenting on the resumption of blockading activities, Dairy UK said: “We’re increasingly dismayed by the activities of Farmers for Action. Blockading causes disruption and needless cost and is not a sustainable way to take the industry forward. That can only be achieved by progress in efficiency, consolidation, innovation and collaboration.

“That collaboration is being delivered with farmers working much closer than ever with their processors to develop supply chain relationships and jointly to extract the maximum value out of the market. This has resulted in milk price movements and significant innovation in contracts.

“Dairy UK will continue to do what we can to build long term solutions to supply chain relations.”

Farmers for Action urged people to check their website http://www.farmersforaction.org for more.