Send us news, start your message Cheshire News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Farmer's appeal for industry protection
A DAIRY farmer believes there will be more protests if the balance of power between supermarkets and producers is not addressed.
Richard Fryer, from Home Farm in Wincham, said an organisation needed to be created to protect the interests of farmers who were being squeezed by big businesses.
He recently took part in protests outside Robert Wiseman Dairies at Trafford Park, which resulted in the company scrapping its plans for a cut in milk prices.
“Unless the momentum we now have is carried forward I can see us being here again in one, two or three years’ time,” he said.
“I hope that what happens is this leads to a producer organisation being set up to address the balance of power with the supermarkets.”
Major dairy processers called off an August 1 price cut which would have caused many farmers to be paid less for milk than it costs to produce.
Robert Wiseman Dairies, Arla Foods, Dairy Crest and First Milk called off the price reductions after pressure from the dairy coalition, including Cheshire’s branch of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).
Although Richard, 36, was not affected by their plans for price reductions he said farmers had to be united.
“It wasn’t affecting me directly, because my contract is with Sainsbury’s, but we have to stick together,” he said. “I just hope the momentum that this has created is carried on.”
Farmers have been struggling to make ends meet since their pay was slashed in June and said a further cut could have put them out of business.
A spokesman for Robert Wiseman Dairies said: “We welcome whole industry recognition of the difficulties facing farmers and the acknowledgement that fresh milk processors are under severe financial pressure.
“We have confidence that we can work with our customers and farmers to address the obvious challenges that exist.”
- MEMBERS of the dairy coalition have vowed to keep up the pressure on retailers who do not pay dairy farmers a fair price.
The coalition, which includes NFU Cheshire, also thanked the public for their ‘overwhelming support’ for the SOS Dairy campaign.
NFU President Peter Kendall said “Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to farmers and the general public for the part they have played in supporting this work and for helping the coalition to achieve the impact it has and in such a short time.
“The success we have seen to date in reversing those planned price cuts for August 1 is a sign of real strength and solidarity.
“However, there is still a long way to go and we need to build on the back of the successes from the past few weeks. We will be working hard to complete the contractual code of best practice as soon as possible.
“And rest assured, we will continue to name and shame retailers and other buyers of milk that do not pay their dairy farmers a price for milk that meets the cost of production.”