Farron calls on government on condemn actions of dairy processors
South Lakes MP, Tim Farron, has used questions to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the House of Commons this morning to call on the Government to take immediate action to help dairy farmers, many of whom have been hit with a second unfair price cut in as many months.
In May 2012, four major dairy processors: Dairy Crest, Robert Wiseman, Arla and Muller, announced a cut of 2 pence per litre (ppl) in the price paid to dairy farmers for milk, which on its own could cost some dairy farmers up to £20,000 per year. However, this has inexplicably been followed by a further cut of 1.7ppl by Robert Wiseman, 2.0ppl by Arla, 1.65ppl by Dairy Crest, which will take effect from 1st August 2012.
Tim has been contacted by many farmers from across the South Lakes, some of whom are concerned that this additional price cut - which will ensure they are some 5.6 - 6.0ppl adrift of where the average cost of production is - could cost their business up to £53,000 per year.
Speaking in questions this morning, Tim pressed Farming Minister, Jim Paice to take action and urgently call together these dairy processors and buyers to make the point that not only is what they are doing morally wrong, but also destructive to the industry as low milk prices has led to a 50% drop in the number of dairy holdings across the UK between 1995 and 2010.
Commenting Tim said: "This most recent cut in prices by 3 of the major dairy processors is completely outrageous. Farmers across Cumbria are struggling as it is and this drop will now see many of them losing out to the tune of up to 6ppl, which will cost their businesses dearly.
"It is great to see this Government introducing a Grocery Codes Adjudicator to protect food producers in the long term; however we need decisive action to be taken in the short term to help dairy farmers. I want to see this Government showing leadership and negotiating with the dairy processers to ensure they recognise the long term negative impact this price cut could have on the dairy industry."