Scottish dairy farmers threaten tanker blockade over milk price cut
FARMERS could stage a 48-hour tanker blockade in protest over cuts to milk prices, a lobby group has warned.
Scottish dairy farmers are preparing to stage the blockade after August 1, the deadline for the introduction of a cut in the price paid to producers per litre of milk, Farmers for Action (FFA) said.
The group said the action will go ahead unless plans for a 2p price cut are dropped by the major milk processors.
Dairy farmers are angry at the latest round of cuts to prices, which come on top of similar cuts in the spring.
They say the move will force many farmers out of business, pushing up the price of milk for consumers in the long term.
A spokesman for the FFA said: “The plan is to blockade the tankers. A tanker will go to a farm from a processor, fill up with milk, and find he will be unable to leave the farm.
“We will hold it up for 48 hours. If the milk has to be dumped, so be it. There are 1,000 dairy farmers in Scotland. You won’t find one that is against it.”
Plans for a blockade follow a protest at Westminster last week attended by 2,500 farmers from across the UK.
Meanwhile rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead called for a summit meeting with UK and Welsh colleagues to find ways to better support Scotland’s dairy farmers.
The start of a “co-ordinated campaign of action” against recent milk price cuts began after Robert Wiseman, Britain’s biggest fresh milk company, said it would reduce the farm-gate milk price by 1.7p a litre from 1 August. Wiseman blamed the move on a collapse in the value of cream.
After a meeting of 300 farmers at Lanark Mart, National Farmers’ Union Scotland said such cuts made dairy farming untenable. It called for the cuts to be reinstated and for all parts of the supply chain to commit to creating a sustainable operating environment. The union also said that the UK and Scottish governments should step in to properly regulate the industry if a fair dairy code of practice could not be agreed.
NFU Scotland’s president Nigel Miller said the cuts had resulted in a “sense of crisis” among milk producers. He added: “Recent price cuts have stripped millions of pounds out of dairy farmers’ businesses.”
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