12 Jul 2012 08 36 AM
posted by Richard Rolfe
Jeremy and I attended the NFU meeting last night at Haydock Park which was extremely well attended by farmers in the North West. The principle speaker Deputy President Meurig Raymond brought us up to speed with what had happened at Westminster that day. With nearly 3,000 farmers converging on Westminster they were pleased with the press and momentum that was building. They had never experienced such unification in the condemnation of the price cuts from the processors.
Meurig then went on to say that the blame lay at the processors doors who had given away the farmers margin in thier haste for market share and we were paying the penalty for their poor negotiations with the retailers. The NFU had carried out a survey of 1,000 consumers and only 22% of them knew the cost of a pint of milk. Sadly Jim Plaice the Agricultural Minister was not one of them.
The NFU has demanded a reversal of the price cuts already actioned and a total rescind of the cuts due to be implemented on the 1st of August. Meurig said" The problem lies with the processors, they have 3 weeks to give the money back or we are coming to get them"
The other area that is being tackled is the present unfairness of the milk contracts which lies heavily in the processors favour. With most contracts having a 12 month notice period this allows the processors to drop prices with no adverse effect on their milk volumes for 12 months. The NFU is pushing for a voluntary code and has drawn a line in the sand at 3 months notice which they believe will make the processors more competitive in the prices they are willing to pay.
The standard cost of production is now an accepted 29.5p per litre and farmers ned to be getting a minimum of 32p per litre to be able to re invest in the industry. Theren is already a fair margin in milk farmers just need their share of it.
There was then a lively question and answer session, Jim Reid a Dairy Farmer from Scotland implored everybody to write to their producers saying the new price cuts were not valid or sustainable. a show of hands showed how few people had done this. There is a proforma letter on the NFU website and I urge everyone to do this. We should also write to our MP's expressing our dismay, this is much better done hand written with personal facts on the hardship it is causing. MP's take much more notice of this.
There were then several comments on resigning contracts on mass, pouring milk away, and the formation of Producer Organisations.
The NFU closed the meeting by saying that it will facillitate and support peaceful demonstrations. We must maintain and grow the momentum that has been started and the farming community must pull together on this. The lines have been drawn we can win the day.
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