DAIRY farmers across the North east of Scotland are continuing to put pressure on retailers and milk processing firms to reverse price cuts planned for August. And the campaign will come to Inverurie today, as famers and campaigners will meet with the public outside local stores.
Anger has mounted at plans to further cut the price farmers are paid for raw milk which will result in the price they receive being less than it costs to produce.
As support for farmers continues to rise amongst consumers, a day of action “Supermarket Squeeze” has been planned today, Thursday, July 26, outside both Farmfoods and Iceland stores in Inverurie, as well as stores in Peterhead and Forfar.
This will see National Farmers Union Scotland members and Farmers For Action Group members meeting shoppers and distributing leaflets which will explain to the public the situation facing dairy farmers.
It will highlight the prices being paid to farmers for milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt and cream products.
The NFUS say that Farmfoods and Iceland have not made any increase in the prices paid to processors, despite pressure from the dairy sector.
A spokesperson for the NFUS said “ We will have sensible discussions and non militant action at each store for an hour and a half in each location.”
Protesters plan to have live dairy calves on board a trailer in Inverurie for members of the public to see, and will be distributing flyers, which they hope the public will sign and make comments on. These will be presented to the local store managers at the end of the visit.
Simillar protest have already been held at the new Asda store in Inverness on Monday (July 23), and at Dumfries last weekend. Dairy farmers across England and Wales are also mounting protests and blockades of milk processing plants.
NFU Scotland has called on all Scottish dairy farmers to attend a meeting in Lanark Auction Mart on Monday, July 30, where they say they will “update them on progress with prices, the code and routes to collaboration.”
NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller said, “It is a clear reflection of the anger and frustration being felt at farm level that so many Scottish dairy farmers have already taken the time to discuss their plight face-to-face with consumers and having their backing has been gratifying.”
Keith Whyte from Inverurie’s own local dairy Mitchell’s told the Herald, “We realise that the current prices are unsustainable when bottled water for example is priced higher than milk in nearly every shop.
“As a local distributor of milk to doorsteps, shops, hotels and schools we know how much time and effort dairy farmers have to go to in order to produce a fresh natural product. People need to realise that all food is no longer a cheap commodity to be treated as a lure to draw customers into a store, as milk is with the big retailers, and to produce to the highest quality farmers need to receive a fair price.
He added, “Shopping locally from businesses who are supplied in a lot of instances directly from farmers in the area means that everyone including the customer benefits from sustainable pricing and returns for all.”