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Opinion - We have no choice but to protest

David Handley, Farmers For Action (FFA) chairman

 

Judging by comments on social media, there has been overwhelming support for the recent action taken against milk processor Muller, by Farmers For Action (FFA).

 

There are also those out there who do not agree with this type of action and who will no doubt be questioning the reasoning behind this.

 

FFA is consistently monitoring the dairy markets and gathering information on where farmgate prices should be, we then make a decision as to whether protesting is fully justified and if we go ahead, will it achieve a result which will benefit the dairy industry and our farmer members.

 

A large number of producers base their arguments for increases in milk prices on the ’Spot Market’ but are unaware this is only about 1 per cent of the milk we produce and makes little change to the price they receive.

 

But what the spot price does show is the demand for milk which is currently growing very quickly.

 

Therefore, with all the products delivered from milk also rising with great speed, it should reflect in an increasing farmgate price.

 

Many processors have already reflected this in the price they pay for milk, but owing to Muller’s announcement of no increase for September, there is now a log jam in the supply chain.

 

It is obvious from Muller’s press statements, the company thinks it can get away with its current stance on milk price.

 

The company are quick to challenge FFA and state we have no mandate to protest from its 1900 producers, yet very many of its farmer suppliers have contacted FFA asking us to address the lack of money coming from its buyer.

 

With the majority of these producers being members of FFA, this is surely our mandate.

 

In conclusion, I think we are fully justified in protesting at Muller’s processing sites.

 

Their management decisions affect all producers in some way or another. They certainly should have some sort of corporate responsibility in the supply chain.

 

Action against this company will continue and we will now look to target the brand and that will mean the retail sector being drawn into this dispute.

 

This whole situation is a disgrace in 2016, and it clearly shows that having a dominant processor in the supply chain is not healthy for British dairy farmers going forward.

 

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