British farming ministers have agreed to push for farmers and processors to back a new code of practice when they meet tomorrow after days of heightened protests over milk price cuts. Talks between the two sides are set to go ahead as the stalemate over the 2p a litre reduction continues.
In a joint statement the ministers said:
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."
The Government is to have talks with dairy farmers following two nights of protests over the prices paid to milk suppliers.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and Farming Minister Jim Paice are to meet farmers, milk processors and supermarkets next week, a spokesman for Defra confirmed.
The ministers will hold talks at the Royal Welsh Show, in Powys, on Monday to try to resolve the crisis in the dairy industry.
Supermarket chain Morrisons has made a 5p per litre increase in the amount it pays in its farm-gate milk price. It has said it will review the position after three months.
The supermarket chain announced the decision after a further night of milk price protests by dairy farmers.
The firm said: "Morrisons will pay an additional 2p-a-litre premium for every litre of milk that it buys.
"There will also be an additional support payment equivalent to 3p-a-litre because of the extreme weather that is currently affecting farmers.
"These payments will last from August through to the end of October when they will be reviewed."
Morrisons commercial director Richard Hodgson said: "We recognise the exceptional pressure on farmers currently and continue to aim to support all farmers, not just those that have dedicated contracts."
West Mercia Police said the four-hour demonstration in Worcestershire involved about 200 protesters.
Between 8pm and midnight an orderly protest took place at Wiseman's in Droitwich, where approximately 40 vehicles and 200 people gathered from the dairy farming community.
Police were in attendance in small numbers and the crowds dispersed of their own volition at midnight.
There were no further issues.
Steve Murrells, chief executive of Co-operative Food, said the premium farmers would receive would rise to 2.57 pence per litre with immediate effect and 4.27 pence per litre from August 1. He said:
We have been in continual discussions on this issue with the National Farmers' Union and we have listened to their concerns.
We are taking this action to help alleviate the immediate pressures that farmers within the CDG are facing. Going forward, we are committed to finding a supply model that is sustainable for the long-term future of our dairy farmers.
Dairy farmers blockaded milk processing plants for a second night as they continued to show their anger at milk prices.Read the full story ›
Dairy farmers continued their protest on Friday over the price paid for milk with blockades at Robert Wiseman Dairy in Droitwich.
ITV News' Rupert Evelyn reports.
The blockade outside a milk processing plant in Droitwich has grown with more farmers and tractors joining the picket.
Dairy farmers have blockaded a milk processing facility. Stopping trucks from entering or leaving the plant.
One tanker carrying milk attempted to make it past the tractors blocking the entrance to the plant but could not get past the verge and was forced to return back behind the gates.
Blockade of Wiseman's milk processing facility in Droitwich is underway