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People power encourages dairy farmers in milk price battle

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: July 31, 2012

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Dairy farmers yesterday thanked the public for their support during their campaign to save their livelihoods – and vowed to carry on their protests.

The Western Daily Press told yesterday how the milk producers have started targeting giant coffee shop chains such as Starbucks, over the price they are paid for milk.

The National Farmers’ Union and Farmers For Action, who have forced a number of supermarkets and dairies to raise milk prices this month, say consumers are unaware of the true cost of their daily coffee.

Chippenham farmer Paul Reynolds, who is at the forefront of the protests, said there had been a lot of public support.

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“I run a farm shop and it has become quite noticeable that people are looking to support us by buying products where they know where they have come from,” he said.

“That has grown, and the lies the supermarkets have told are catching up with them – people are very much more aware of what the issues are now. We had an open day at our farm shop at the weekend and 2,500 came along, and there is a lot of support for what we are doing.

"We are just going to keep on with the protests and see where it goes, as we are getting public backing, and good coverage in the media as well. Our intentions were very much not to upset the Olympics and we always said that, but apart from that the whole thing is rumbling on.”

The focus of the protests switched north of the border yesterday, with Scottish farmers organising a major rally, with FFA representatives present, while a series of talks were held.

The Scottish Minister for Rural Affairs and Environment Richard Lochhead was meeting dairy farmers in Lanark to discuss securing a better deal for the sector.

A spokesman for the NFU told the Western Daily Press: “A couple of our guys have gone up to Scotland for talks with the NFU Scotland.”

NFU Scotland Milk Committee chairman Gary Mitchell said: “Along with our coalition partners, we remain resolutely committed to tackling the short-term crisis in our sector brought about by the unprecedented level of damaging pressure on farm-gate milk prices.

“The positive announcements on milk price this week from some retailers may only be to the benefit of a minority of producers but they certainly signal that the direction of travel has shifted.

"At the same time we need to use this level of momentum and unification among dairy farmers to deliver a greater degree of collaboration that ensures dairy farmers are better organised and in a stronger position within the dairy supply chain in the future.”

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