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Morrisons launch more expensive "Milk for Farmers"

Supermarket Morrisons is to launch a new brand, "Morrisons Milk for Farmers" which will sell at 10p a litre more than usual, with the extra money being passed on to the crisis-hit dairy industry.

The Bradford-based chain has been one of the main targets for protesters from the farming industry who have stripped milk from the shelves before dumping the produce or giving it away for free.

Industry leaders met Morrisons bosses to try to tackle falling milk prices which, the National Farmers Union (NFU) says, will lead to dairy farmers being forced to leave the industry in the next few weeks as they struggle to pay bills and face rising debts.

"We will be launching a milk brand that allows customers to pay a little more if they want to support British farmers. Called Morrisons Milk for Farmers, this product will sell at a 10p per litre premium to the standard Morrisons milk price.

"All of that premium will go directly back to the farmers that supply our processor Arla. It will go into stores in the autumn and is aimed at shoppers who want to directly support dairy farmers ." "Consumers can choose whether they want to pay more to support British dairy.

– Morrisons Corporate Services Director, Martyn Jones

Robert Wiseman Dairies "backs down" on milk price cuts to farmers

One of the country's biggest milk processing firms,which has faced protests and blockades by farmers, has abandoned its plans to cut the price it pays for milk.

Robert Wiseman Dairies has announced it is scrapping plans to cut the price it pays dairy farmers for milk. It is the last of the major milk processors to make an announcement following concerted protests and blockades of its plants by farmers.

It had planned a 1.7 pence per litre price reduction, but now says the price it pays to farmers will not change in August as originally planned.

The decision takes account of concerns raised since we announced a 1.7ppl reduction in our ex-farm price from 1 August 2012. This followed the significant loss of income we suffered further to the substantial decline in cream values experienced since the beginning of the year which left us unable to sustain the milk price we were paying."

– Robert Wiseman Dairies statement

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Police issue statement about farmers' protest in Leeds

"West Yorkshire Police last night attended a trade dispute at an industrial premises on Savannah Way, Stourton, Leeds.The protest involved between 150 and 180 demonstrators and officers attended to ensure a fair balance was struck between facilitating a peaceful protest, ensuring the safety of the public and so the company concerned could operate 'business as usual' as far as possible.

The protest ended at around midnight when the protestors left the scene. There were no arrests. Contrary to reports in the media the protestors were not served with any injunctions. Before dispersing off of their own volition they were served with section 14 notices which imposed conditions on their assembly. The section 14 notice did not compel them to leave the area entirely.

The relationship between police and protestors was cordial as it was between protestors and the employees of the company.The trade dispute is thought to be part of a national issue and senior officers are in close and regular contact with the company and the protestors to ensure we remain in a position to continue to facilitate peaceful demonstration should the need arise."

– Chief Superintendent Paul Money, Divisional Commander for City and Holbeck

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Farmers angry over milk cuts

Farmers in the region are angry that two milk companies are cutting the price of milk.

First Milk and Milk Link have announced that from next month they are reducing prices. Dairy producers say the consequence will be a substantial loss in income.

For some farmers they could see a reduction in at least £1,500 a month. Milk Link is reducing its price by 1.5p per litre and First Milk by 1.85p per litre.

If you are one of the unlucky majority that cannot secure a dedicated retail contract, it’s pretty clear you are now completely at the mercy of milk buyers, who can effectively do whatever they want. How regional producers will cope with this price squeeze is anyone’s guess, but speaking for myself and many of the farmers I talk to, the only option will be to increase our borrowing – and that’s a very scary proposition!

– Tom Cummins, Whitby farmer

However, the milk companies say that they have to reduce their prices because of declining returns from the liquid, whey and powder markets.

Although our price cut is less than most other major milk buyers, we recognise that the resulting drop in farm income will increase further the financial pressure on our Members’ dairy enterprises. As such, to give Members some stability during this very volatile period, the Board has agreed that the June price will be held for both July and August.

– Neil Kennedy, Milk Link Chief Executive

I fully recognise the impact that this price reduction will have on our members' farm margins, particularly given the current farm cost trends. We will continue to focus on mitigating the market factors as much as possible.

– Bill Mustoe, Chairman of First Milk