Four big dairy players who caused a scandal by paying farmers less for milk than it cost to produce have given in to a massive public campaign.
Robert Wiseman Dairy was the last to cave after a martial PR operation by farmers, their union, local press like CCN and you the public rendered their rip-off impossible.
Wisemans, now owned by German dairy giant Muller, agreed to drop its planned price cut of 1.7ppl, leaving its price to dairy farmers at 26.43ppl.
And US-owned cheap food giant Asda will as of tomorrow (Weds Aug 1st), be paying a proper price too.
The crucial Muller cut – which only brings things back down to a level where Dairy Farmers can cover their costs – came the day after First Milk, Dairy Crest and Arla gave in.
The big players gave in after a crisis-summit saw a Cornish Farmer humiliate Government Minister Jim Paice in front of millions of online viewers.
Dairy Farmer Anthony Wills from Wadebridge laid into Paice at a charged Whitehall meeting over his ill-timed exhortation for Dairy Farmers to again ‘pull in their belts’.
Anthony announced to a crowd of 2,500 furious farmers: “I thought all the speeches we’ve heard today were excellent.
Then to a chorus of approval he added: “Until it got to the Minister, Jim Paice.”
The encounter was streamed online by the NFU: and it proved the turning point of a long milk-prices campaign.
NFU President Peter Kendall said: “This is testament to the hard work from all members of the coalition in Cornwall and beyond have done.
“We’ve had massive support from people up and down the country.
“I am immensely proud of what the coalition has achieved so far.
“In a little over two weeks we have seen the Co-operative, Morrisons and Asda agree to pay their farmers a price that covers their costs of production.
“With the announcement by Wiseman/ Müller, I am pleased to say the planned milk price cuts by all of the major dairy processors have now been rescinded before the August 1 deadline.
“This was one of our key goals when we set out and we have achieved it.
“This will bring some relief to dairy farmers who supply liquid milk to Arla, First Milk, Dairy Crest and Wiseman/ Müller.
“But we will continue working hard behind the scenes to ensure these first steps turn into a longer-term, sustainable milk price for all dairy farmers. This can’t be a short-term fix.
“We will continue in talks with the processors to work towards returning that lost money. We will meet to discuss next steps.
“I thank everyone; farmers, members of the coalition, and shoppers for their support. We could not have done this without them.”
Asda were the highest profile business shamed into action.
Dairy Director Karl Martin said: “We have listened to the concerns of our dedicated dairy farmers and recognise the financial pressures they are currently facing.
“As a result, from 1st August we will increase the premium we pay from 1ppl to 3ppl.
“Over the last eight years, in partnership with Arla, we have worked extremely hard to build an open, honest and transparent relationship with our farmers. We pride ourselves on listening and acting positively whenever necessary in order to ensure we operate within a sustainable supply chain.”
“In order to provide UK dairy farmers with a market for the excess cream they produce, Arla has expanded its butter processing facility in Westbury, Wiltshire adding new production lines to the plant. This will enable Asda to purchase significantly more British butter from Arla.
He added: “We are fully aware that the liquid milk we purchase is only half the story. A significant amount of the cream produced by the dairy industry in the UK is sold on the global commodity market. In order to improve returns to farmers, Asda is committed to driving retail sales of British butter and cream. ”
The successful campaign means:
– Asda will increase the price it pays dairy farmers by an additional 2ppl from August 1 taking its base price up to 29.5 up to the end of the year when it will be reviewed.
– As of tomorrow the Co-Op effect a price increase of 4.27ppl from August 1.
– Morrisons also announced a milk price increase of an additional 2p-a-litre premium for every litre of milk that it buys.
– There will also be an additional support payment equivalent to 3p-a-litre because of the extreme weather that is currently affecting farmers.
– These payments will last from August through to the end of October when they will be reviewed.
Well Done Everyone