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Farmers unite in protest over new milk price cuts
11:00am Saturday 21st July 2012 in News
MP Julian Smith has called for talks over the latest cut in milk prices.
His comments come after hundreds of dairy farmers took part in a mass demonstration in London at a dairy summit with ministers, retailers and dairy processors.
Michael Wallbank, a dairy farmer from Embsay , said the rally was in response to the deepening crisis in dairy farming, which would become a “nightmare” when leading dairies cut the price they pay by 2p a litre next month.
The cuts, reported in last week’s Herald, come on the back of a previous reduction in prices of up to 2p per litre, which was brought in on June 1.
Mr Wallbank, who has a 260-strong herd of cows at Intake Farm, said the cuts would mean his business losing about £8,000 a month.
He said: “It is a nightmare. I think all that these latest prices will do is make people give up.
“There was the sale of a farm in Bradley . The first cut in milk prices made his mind up for him that he had to give up.
“It will be the same with a lot of people who will have to sell their stock and do other things to make a living.”
The cuts were introduced initially by three leading processors - Robert Wiseman Dairies, Arla Foods UK - which has a base in Settle - and Dairy Crest - but others including Yorkshire local processor Paynes Dairies are now following suit.
An NFU spokesman said the result is that most dairy farmers were now being expected to continue producing milk for as much as 5p per litre below the cost of production.
Commenting on the demonstration, Mr Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, said: “The reduction in the price that dairy farmers get for their milk is causing real and justifiable concern.
“It is time for everyone to get round the table to try and resolve this problem and ensure farmers get a fair price for their product.
“This is not just an issue for Government - all parties including supermarkets, producers and farmers need to play a full part in these discussions.”