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Lane End dairy farmer said milk price cuts will force farms shut
A LANE End farmer has warned that if the proposed milk cuts go ahead half of the country's cows will have to be sold.
Will Lacey, 24, of Lacey's Family Farm went to the #SOSdairy Summit in Westminster on Wednesday.
Around 2,500 farmers attended the summit which was led by NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond and agriculture minister Jim Paice.
Will attended with his brother, Ed, arable farmer Bryan Edgley from Cadmore End and other farmers from the Wycombe district.
Farmers went to the summit to rally against Robert Wiseman Dairies, Arla Foods UK and Dairy Crest's announced cuts to their milk prices paid to farmers of 1.7pence per litre, 2.0ppl and 1.65ppl respectively as of August 1, following further cuts earlier in the year.
Will said farmers can simply not afford to absorb the cuts as the price the milk processors pay is less than what it costs to produce.
He said: "If these milk price cuts carry on then half the cows in the country will be sold because people cannot afford to pay the bills.
"That may sound an exaggeration but no business can run at a loss."
Will and his family have 120 Guernsey cows which produce about 700,000 litres a year.
He said they are fortunate as they process about 300,000 litres themselves and sell it in the area.
But after the proposed cuts they would lose around 6ppl on the remaining 400,000.
A litre of milk currently sells at an average of 60 pence.
The farmers sell their milk to the processors who then sell it to the supermarket.
Will said farmers are currently getting about 26ppl and the supermarket about 10-12ppl.
But he stressed that he thinks the British public are paying a fair price for their milk but the cost is not being spread out fairly.
The milk companies said they have to make the cuts due to commodity prices.
The NFU said it would affect 27 per cent of producers and 25 per cent of the milk market volume.
It will not affect farmers who deal with Tesco, Sainsbury's, M&S and Waitrose.
Bryan, who is chairman of NFU for South Bucks and Middlesex, said: "The NFU figures say that a lot of dairy farmers will now be losing £40,000 a year and this is the reason so many dairy herds are being closed down and putting the farms out of business."
He said there needs to be legislation of some sort whereby milk producers at least get the cost of production or a fair contract.
Bryan added: "We know for certain if these cuts are not quashed it is almost certain on August 1 there will be industrial action of some sort.
"Farms will have to do that. They will have to go out of business quietly or make a real fuss to keep going."
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