Farming leaders will meet this week determined to continue to push for a sustainable milk price for dairy farmers following a series of successful protests that saw retailers and processors rescind their price-cutting plans.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, which will take place at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, Peter Kendall, president of the national farmers Union in England, said: “The work of the coalition has only really just begun; we are determined to bring about real and lasting change.
“Just this week, two milk buyers have signalled intentions to deliver long-term pricing models. We do not wish to dictate the exact details, but it is critical that milk pricing models deliver sustainable milk prices for farmers.”
Following discussions with Dairy Coalition representatives, supermarket group Iceland Foods has already agreed to investigate the development of an improved milk procurement model that recognises the price paid to farmers by its supplying processors.
Dairy processor Freshways, which last week admitted it had – through a milk broker – brought in fresh milk from Belgium, has also committed to working with industry consultants to develop a milk pricing mechanism that reflects farmers’ costs to produce milk.
Also commenting before the coalition meeting, Farmers for Action chairman David Handley said: “Both these businesses will be judged on their actions.
“Iceland has stated it has not derived any benefit from this year’s price cuts by milk processors. We have told Iceland it has an opportunity to show leadership by making a sustainable farm gate milk price a procurement specification.
“Likewise, Freshways will be judged on its ability to pay its supplying farmers a fair price based on a fair contract.
“Milk buyers can’t go on shrugging their shoulders and refusing to take responsibility for the future of the dairy industry. We demand that buyers step up to the mark and do their bit to ensure a fair deal for farmers.”
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