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End poverty milk prices! FARM launches major new campaign at the Dairy Event

On 22-23 September, at this year's Dairy Event, FARM will unveil its Just Milk campaign. Come along and support us as we seek to engage consumers with the plight of Britain's dairy farmers

Save Britain’s dairy farmers – end poverty milk prices

The dairy industry is in trouble. Poverty milk prices are forcing over 2,000 dairy farms out of business – an average of 40 a week. This is a tragedy for each family concerned. But the trend towards fewer, more intensive dairy units is also harming rural communities, animal welfare and wildlife – which makes the loss of family dairy farms a concern for us all.

Here FARM unveils its Just Milk campaign, which seeks to win support for
Britain's dairy farmers from consumers and the wider public. Specifically, we are asking people to challenge Tesco, as the biggest supermarket, to take a lead in ending poverty milk prices.

unJust Milk
Mad as it sounds, today British dairy farmers get less money for their milk than they did 20 years ago – and these poverty prices are forcing thousands of farmers out of business. For the past seven years, the average earnings of a dairy farmer has been just £2.90 an hour, so it is nigh on impossible to make a living.

There used to be a living in milk production, so what has changed? The answer is simple: the balance of power in the food chain. In the last decade, the average retail price for a litre of milk has risen from 41 to 48 pence. But in the same period, the price the farmer gets has fallen from 24 to 18 pence. For most farmers, this is less than it costs them to produce their milk.

The situation is unjust.
Britain is losing over 2,000 dairy farms a year – about 40 a week. While supermarkets carry on making a huge profit, farmers go out of business.

not Just Milk
But it’s not only the farmers who are suffering, because dairy farming is not just about commodity milk production. We believe that dairy farming also delivers a host of wider benefits to society, from strong rural communities to habitats for wildlife and good animal welfare. The more dairy farms go out of business, and the more those that remain are forced to intensify, the greater the threat to these wider values.

For example, a dairy cow used to produce 5-6,000 litres of milk each year. Now many farmers are forced to squeeze over 12,000 litres out of each cow just to make ends meet.

 

And it is smaller farms that are most vulnerable, but it is they that often deliver the widest benefits to society. Small farms are known to provide better and more diverse habitats for wildlife. Meanwhile, they provide up to five times more jobs per acre than big farms.

The trend towards fewer, bigger, more intensive farms is damaging for us all, and those driving this trend need to be stopped.

Take action – Tackle Tesco!
FARM is coordinating a postcard campaign. We are asking you to challenge Tesco, as the biggest retailer in the
UK, to take a lead in ensuring British dairy farmers get a fair deal. Specifically, Tesco should stop paying poverty milk prices and instead:
• Use their market power to ensure their dairy farmers receive a fair share of retail price;
• Publicly acknowledge that a sustainable dairy industry depends on a high number and diversity of farmers.

FARM has produced a campaign action pack, complete with postcards – please contact us to get some sent to you.

Support the Just Milk campaign
We believe the equal involvement of farmers and the public is vital to resolving the difficulties in dairy. At the moment dairy farmers are on their own against a small number of powerful companies, and a government that is happy to let things be. But with consumer support, and by targeting Tesco – the greatest embodiment of the misbalance of power in the food chain – we believe we can help the industry.

Can you help FARM's campaign? The more people are involved, the greater the voice for farming! Can you:
• distribute campaign action packs to your friends and colleagues?
• organise a local meeting or debate?
• display a billboard on your land, next to a major road?
• put up posters in your local area?
• act as a Regional Representative (coordinate local actions, media and campaigning)?
 

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Contact details:

Email – info@farm.org.uk

Office telephone – 0207 352 7928

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Robert Alderson

Coordinator

 

Tel: 0207 352 7928

farm - the independent voice of farmers