Farmers' growing discontent at the price they are paid for milk may have been slightly appeased this afternoon with news that the government has agreed a voluntary code of practice between dairy farmers and milk processors.
This afternoon the Agricultural minister Jim paice confirmed that all sides had agreed to a voluntary code, although the details of exactly what it will mean are yet to be confirmed.
It follows a second blockade at the region’s biggest milk processing plant. Dairy farmers descended on Robert Wiseman Dairies in Bridgwater last night (Sunday). It was one of three held across the country.
Among the campaigners was James Hold from Blackford in Somerset who says young farmers areleaving the industry because they do not see a future. Farmers vowed to continue the demonstrations to show their anger over being paid less for their milk than it costs toproduce it.
Politicians met at the Royal Welsh show to agree to the voluntary code of conduct.
– Farming Minister Jim Paice and his Welsh and Scottish counterparts Alun Davies and Richard Lochhead
The dairy sector is a key part of our agricultural industry and all the Governments in the UK are determined that it should have a profitable and sustainable future. In responding to the current situation, industry needs to address both the immediate issue of the price paid for milk and also the structures and mechanisms that will help underpin the long term viability of the sector.
Supermarket chains Co-Op and Morrisons have already agreed to raise the amount they pay farmers for milk and it is hoped other major retailers will follow suit. Meanwhile, from August 1 Asda is increasing the premium it pays to its dairy farmers by 2p per litre.
Currently it costs farmers around 30 pence to produce a litre of milk, but they are only paid around 26 pence for it – it means they’re losing thousands of pounds every year.
Farmers For Action warn cuts in the price paid to suppliers by dairy processors, combined with rising feed costs, could force hundreds of dairy farmers out of business.
– James Badman, Farmers for Action (FFA)
We will continue until we get a fair price for what we produce. This is a last resort.
Followers of ITV Westcountry’s Facebook page are supporting the region’s farmers.
– ROBERT DODGE
We always have milk from the milkman as this is our way of showing support, sometimes we have to pop to the shop for extra and do end up paying less.
– Thomas Knight
Totally with them, why should they make a loss on every litre produced? In my opinion they should keep on doing the blockade till the dispute is solved and the farmers are satisfied.
– PAUL SCOPLIN
I'm happy to pay the extra few pence per litre if it means keeping British farmers in business.