Booths says milk price pledge will not falter

Booths' chairman Edwin Booth says the retailer's milk pledge will not be compromised by market volatility.
Booths' chairman Edwin Booth says the retailer's milk pledge will not be compromised by market volatility.
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Food and drink retailer Booths has reiterated its pledge to pay farmers more for their milk than any other supermarket.

The chain launched its Fair Milk scheme last May and pledged to always pay the highest market price to farmers.

The market price is collected by an independent price comparison consultancy, milkprices.com, which monitors the farmgate prices of the major UK supermarkets. Booths said it reviewed the market price regularly to ensure it always pays its farmers more than their supermarket rivals.

At the moment, Booths pays 34.5 pence per litre (ppl), 1.4ppl more than Waitrose and 2.78ppl more than Sainsbury’s.

Chairman, Edwin Booth, said: “Paying the highest market price means family farms are able to keep going, invest in the future and spend more time and money looking after their herds to ensure they produce great quality milk. Booths are committed to supporting rural industry and the Fair Milk scheme makes a real difference to our dairy farmers.”

The cost of producing milk is 30ppl litre, farmers’ groups say, but the current average received at the farmgate is around 25ppl, with some being paid as little as 20ppl.

Following a visit to meet Yorkshire dairy farmers in Holmfirth this month, Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers’ Union told Country Week of how his fellow farmers were suffering from the price drop.

“I’m a milk producer myself and I know what it feels like. We are speaking to processors and retailers, and are challenging government to do more because we are 85 per cent milk self sufficient in this country and I don’t want to see dairy farmers leaving the industry. Everyone across the supply chain has got to get behind British dairy farming.

“What the price drop does from an investment point of view is that it means dairy farmers can’t afford to invest for the future which in the longer term doesn’t help them to become more efficient. When that investment is being made it stimulates growth in the rural economy because you have that spend going to builders and other contractors.

“This volatility we’re seeing is not just affecting milk but beef and other sectors too and we would like to see the Chancellor in his budget extend tax averaging on farms which would mean in times of volatile trading farmers would have more time to spread their losses.”