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  1. ITV Report

Dairy farmers take to the street to convince public to buy British

Dairy farmers in the North East have swapped their milk parlours for the pavements as they head to town centres to meet shoppers face to face in a bid to convince them to buy British produce.

The decision to take to the streets of Middlesbrough comes after months of savage price cuts that have forced more than 60 dairy farmers in the region to sell their cows and close their parlours.

Dairy Farmers on the street earlier today Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Nationally the impact of these price cuts, which in some instances amounts to more than 30%, is that for the first time the number of dairy farmers has now fallen below 10,000.

The National Farmers Union Dairy Board Chairman, David Shaw, has said he is “bemused” by milk prices at the moment.

"We are bemused by the prices being paid at the moment, especially as we are talking about a fantastic, fresh, nutritious product. Milk and the wealth of dairy ingredients we enjoy every day really are a national speciality. The quality of our milk and diversity of wonderful regional products made from it should be celebrated and cherished. Our message to consumers is simple - every pint is precious! The public needs dairy farmers to keep the daily supply of milk and delicious dairy ingredients coming and British dairy farmers need the public to make sure the products they buy are made with British milk.

– David Shaw, The National Farmers Union Dairy Board Chairman

Neville Kitching’s family have owned a dairy farm near Stokesley for over a century but he says now the future of the farm is in jeopardy as earning a profit becomes harder than ever. He says it would be “heart breaking” if he had to sell his cows.

As farmers took to the street to drum up support, the reaction on the street has not been entirely positive with people saying that they need to support themselves first.

Andrew Opie from the British Retail Consortium have said that they are doing what they can to support farmers and have been clear on 'country of origin' labelling.