Protesters make a splash as dairy farmers step up milk price battle

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DAIRY farmers have staged more protests against price cuts in Yorkshire to put pressure on more supermarkets and processors to reverse their decisions.

Protesters gathered at the Lidl supermarket in Catterick yesterday to stage a “milk is cheaper than water” demonstration by jumping into a bath of milk, while large scale demonstrations were also planned at two major processing firms: Arla in Leeds and Robert Wiseman in Manchester.

Lidl has announced it is increasing the premium per litre of milk by 2p.

However one of the farmers taking part in last night’s protest said this was too small to be meaningful to farmers who are now being paid less than it costs them to produce milk.

Tim Gibson, a dairy farmer from Bedale, North Yorkshire, said: “I wouldn’t even call it an increase they are just scaling back part of a previous cut.

“There is no one single body that can represent all dairy farmers in talks with supermarkets or processors because that would breach competition laws. We have no say over the price we receive. “

The protest comes as another milk processing company has announced it is to abandon its planned cut in the price it pays to farmers.

First Milk announced it would now not reduce the milk price it pays to farmers in its “liquid and balancing pools” from next Wednesday. Chief executive Kate Allum said the supply chain needed restructuring.

Elsewhere, Farmers for Action have called off protests against processor Dairy Crest after it agreed to talks.

The group is postponing the 1.65p a litre reduction due from August for two months to hold talks with farmers over the way forward.

It follows a week of blockades by farmers, who are calling for all price cuts to be reversed amid warnings the plans will force many out of business.