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  1. West Country (E)

Farmers fight for a "fair price" for milk

Hundreds of dairy farmers have once again been demonstrating over the price they receive for milk.

400 farmers blocked the entrance to the Morrisons distribution centre in Bridgwater last night (24 August) - this time to highlight their campaign to get a better price for the milk they sell to make cheese.

Today they told ITV News the protests will continue until a fair deal is reached.

You can watch Jonty Messer's report below:

Morrisons says that its statement issued a fortnight ago still stands:

Statement 14.08.2015

We know that the dairy farming community faces a tough winter.

We announced earlier this week that we are creating a new brand of milk Morrisons Milk for Farmers where 10 pence per litre goes back to Arla farmers.

Today, we are also announcing that we will do the same on cheese by creating a Milk for Farmers cheddar cheese priced at a retail premium of 34 pence-a-pack above our standard Morrisons cheddar price to deliver the equivalent of 10p-a-litre back to farmers who supply the milk.

We are also pleased to announce that we are going to increase our offer to our processors for the liquid milk element of our processed fresh milk to a minimum price of 26 pence a litre from later this month and through the winter.

This month, we will continue discussions with our cheese processor about other initiatives that will help their dairy farmers.

We hope that this offer along with the other initiatives we have announced this week will help our suppliers to better support British dairy farmers.

– Morrisons spokesperson
  1. West Country (E)

Farmers are back blockading Morrison's in Bridgwater

Hundreds of dairy farmers from across the West Country are back at the Morrison's depot near Bridgwater after talks over milk prices fell down.

David Handley from Farmers for Action says that, although they agreed a deal over liquid milk with the supermarket giant, they were unable to come to a similar arrangement with the milk supplied for cheese.


Farmers in talks with Morrisons over price of milk

Farmers blockaded a Morrisons distribution centre near Bridgwater last week. Credit: ITV News

The National Farmers Union is meeting with Morrisons today over the cost of milk.

It follows a series of demonstrations across the West Country by dairy farmers protesting the amount of money they receive for their milk - which they say is barely enough to live on.

Last week farmers blockaded the supermarket's distribution centre near Bridgwater.


Farmers hold emergency summit to try and solve milk crisis

More than a hundred people protested at ASDA in Bideford. Credit: ITV News

Farming unions are desperately trying to find a solution to the milk crisis at an emergency summit today, following widespread protests across the West in the last week.

Farmers say they are losing money on every pint they produce. In the latest action, more than a hundred people cleared supermarket shelves at an ASDA in Bideford, North Devon, in protest at the amount they now pay farmers for milk. You can find out more about what happened here.

Union bosses are at the summit trying to find a way forward, ahead of a meeting tomorrow with supermarket chain Morrison's. The supermarket's distribution depot in Bridgwater was targeted for a protest by hundreds of farmers last week.

On tonight's ITV News West Country we'll talking to a dairy farmer who has decided to the leave the industry for good. Tune in from 6pm.

  1. National

Farming unions in crisis talks amid milk price protests

Four farming unions met today for an emergency summit amid widespread supermarket protests across the UK about "unfair" milk prices.

They say that government, retailers and the food service industry must "step up to the plate" to tackle the crisis facing the British farming industry.

Speaking after the summit, David Handley of Farmers For Action said "I don't think there's any farmer out there at the moment that will accept they can just sit back on their laurels."

The meeting follows days of protests by farmers including Milk Trolley Challenges, blockades at distribution centres and even bringing cattle into supermarkets.

Farmers estimate that it costs between 30 and 32p to produce a litre of milk but the average price paid across the UK is 23.66p - following a drop of 25% in a year.

Dairy farmers call on government, retailers and the food service industry to Credit: PA

Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers Union said farmers were facing "all the risk in these extremely volatile times".

I believe there is now, at long last, a recognition of the dire straits that farmers are finding themselves.

People are losing money. There is no way farmers can sustainably stay in business with these sorts of prices.

There has been a race to the bottom to devalue product. When four pints of highly nutritious milk is selling for less than a bottle of water then there is something wrong in the culture of society.

– Meurig Raymond, NFU president
Meurig Raymond speaking at NFU conference earlier this year Credit: PA

Scotland's Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment called for widespread support of the dairy industry.

I am calling on retailers and other buyers to get behind the dairy sector in this time of need and to pay a fair price for milk.

I fully recognise the difficulties being faced by dairy farmers because of the low price being paid for milk and volatility on the global market, and I have written to my UK counterparts calling for a joint ministerial meeting on this issue.

I am also happy to meet again with the dairy sector at any time and in any place during these very difficult times."

– Richard Lochead, Scotland's Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment

The four main unions, the National Farmers' Union, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland and the Ulster Farmers Union, met today in central London to discuss the "crisis".

"We've come to make a point to Asda", say farmers

Dairy farmers who've been clearing shelves at Asda in Bideford say they're trying to shame the supermarket into raising prices:

"We've come to make a point to ASDA today, but also all the supermarkets that we're unhappy with some of the tactics they're using, not supporting British agriculture is an issue, and using imported goods when they could be using British products. We're and trying to shame them into raising the price for cheap milk."

– Michael Shadrick, Dairy Farmer from Bradworthy

Asda have issued the following statement:

Our milk is supplied by the Arla farmer cooperative. The Arla dairy cooperative is owned by farmers. We moved to this model after guidance from those who were supplying us and means the price received by our farmers is set by their own cooperative business. They receive an on-account payment for their milk and take an equal share of any remaining profit. There is no link between retail prices and farmgate price.

– Asda spokesperson
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