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Farmers lobby MP in battle for fairer milk prices
9:10am Friday 27th July 2012 in News
Dairy farmers have lobbied MP Julian Smith in their fight to get fairer milk prices.
They have already seen milk prices cut by 2p a litre and a further 2p reduction is due to come into force next month.
That, say farmers, would put many out of business.
Now urgent talks are taking place with milk processors in a bid to solve the stalemate.
A draft code of practice has been mooted.
Locally, the National Farmers’ Union called a meeting with Skipton MP Julian Smith on Thursday.
“This affects all dairy farmers and not just those who directly supply supermarkets,” said NFU group secretary Tim Palmer. “Things seem to be moving forward, but we have got to keep applying the pressure.”
He said farmers wanted to see the abandonment of the 4p cut in the short term, fairer contracts for all in the medium term and the establishment of producer groups to give farmers a bigger voice in negotiations in the long term.
Mr Palmer described Thursday’s meeting as constructive.
And Mr Smith told the Herald: “This is a hugely important issue for my constituency which is why it was important for me to hear about the challenges being faced by farmers across Craven.
“I heard about how the reduction in the cost paid to farmers for milk is coinciding with ever- increasing costs for feed and other goods.
“Farmers also told me about the serious concerns many have for the future of the dairy industry in this country and the need for action to ensure it has a strong future it deserves.
“I will be making sure the farming minister is aware of the discussions.
“In addition, I will also be writing to the supermarkets and milk processors to let them know of the serious concerns.
“It is not right that hard-working farmers should be making a loss on a product we all consume day in day out.
“Everyone must get round the table to try and resolve this problem, ensure farmers get a fair price for their milk and secure the future of our dairy industry.”
Farmers at Monday’s dairy auction at Skipton Auction Mart were united about the need to maintain a consolidated front in the continuing battle for a better deal.
Jeremy Taylor, who runs the Smellows pedigree Holstein Friesian herd at Broughton, said: “What has been offered is nowhere near enough to cover the cost of milk production.
“Dairy farmers are suffering as a direct result. Surely, there is plenty of slack on the price of a pint of milk for dairy farmers, processors and supermarkets all to get a fair share out of it.”