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Farmers take to Westminster
Yesterday, I along with more than 2500 other dairy farmers from across the UK travelled to Westminster for a crisis summit. The reason for this summit is because the price farmers are paid for milk has been cut, so much so that we are now being paid less for a litre of milk than it costs to produce. Some farmers are losing up to 6 pence per litre, which may sound very little amount of money but margins are so tight in farming and if that farmer is producing more than one million litres of milk a year, those 6p's add up to a huge sum.
What is even more frustrating is that there is great public support for British Produce and British Farmers, all money paid to British farmers goes in to our economy and its beneficial for all. The supermarkets and retailers (who are making huge profits out of milk sales) are generating massive profits out of milk are not passing any of this margin on to the processors( the people who pasteurise and bottle the milk) and the farmers who produce the milk. Those supermarkets are also international companies who get away with paying no or little Tax to the British government. I could go on for hours about this point, but that's not going to achieve anything here today. What I can tell you is that not all the supermarkets are abusing the powers they have, Marks and Spencers, Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsburys have all realised the importance of British Milk producers( Britain has the best climate for milk production in Europe as well as the highest animal welfare and milk hygiene standards) so they have started the own milk contracts with farmers paying them a fair price for their milk in return for a guaranteed quality product from the farmers. I commend these supermarkets for their foresight and bold actions in doing this. Its unfortunate that some of the biggest supermarkets in our area are the worst offenders ASDA, MORRISONS, CO-OP, LIDL and ALDI have continually paid less that the cost of production with no respect for the thousands of people the dairy sector employs and unless something is done soon then I'm afraid that farmers may be forced in direct action in the form of protest or something similar at these shops.
I hope you understand that the last thing farmers want is protests or anything similar, but if you look at a litre of milk in the supermarket it costs around 60p, while water costs 63p???? Where's the logic in that? The cost of milk to you the consumers does not necessarily have to change, the way the price you pay is shared out does!
Producing milk that is losing money is a feeling I cant put in to words, it makes me furious and there is no sense to it, if it continues then the supermarkets and retails will have no one producing milk for them which is not beneficial to them either, but how ever hard we have tried they seem to be unaware of this basic idea.
On our farm we sell about 60% of our milk to the processors and bottle and sell the rest ourselves, so if you are already buying Laceys Milk you already supporting not only us, but the British Farmers and the local economy. We produce a high quality fantastic milk product and feel that if we can produce it here in the Wycombe district then you the people of the Wycombe district deserve the benefits from it in the form of a quality local milk available to you directly. We take this approach with all aspects, so the botttles, lids and lables are all made by firms in High Wycombe, keeping money in our local economy will help Wycombe get through the tough economic times and support local business and jobs. If only some of these 'Big Boy Retailers' worked on the same theory!
One Last note I would like wish the best of luck to the Great Britain Olympic Hockey Teams, they are Proud Drinkers of Laceys MIlk!
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The perfect wife and mother, Rebecca runs a home, a bad temper and is working on her novel. She enjoys photography, playing the piano and likes almost anything that's out of fashion and uncool. She lives in Amersham with her husband and youngest child (aged ten). Her eldest, now 27, lives and works in Buckinghamshire.