13:24 Tuesday 27 August 2013

Farmers ready to protest again

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

Staffordshire NFU chairman David Brookes Staffordshire NFU chairman David Brookes

DAIRY farmers in the region have threatened a return of the protests which dominated the industry last year unless they see a rise in the amount they are paid for their milk.

After a year of relative calm, farmers are becoming increasingly frustrated by their financial situation and say they have seen no improvement since summer-long protests staved off the threat of cuts to the amount they were paid last year.

Although pleased to have avoided a cut, which many farmers said would have made their businesses unsustainable, farmers remain adamant that they are struggling to make a profit on their current level of pay.

Farmers For Action has urged its members to consider taking action unless processors agree to an increase.

David Brookes, chairman of Staffordshire National Farmers Union and former Burton branch chairman, said farmers were considering a return of blockades that were seen at processing plants across the region last year.

Protests eventually had the desired effect as processors backed down and there has been a suggestion that farmers may also get what they want this time around.

But Mr Brookes said it was not happening quickly enough and that promises would not be enough to keep disillusioned farmers happy.

He told the Mail: “They haven’t moved on prices since the cuts were rescinded last year. We’re all anxious to see some sort of return.

“There is talk of price rises over the next few months but whether that will be enough to get us out of the trough nobody knows.

“Farmers have been talking about doing that (protesting).There is a growing anxiety amongst dairy farmers. The market place for their milk is failing them, they simply are not able to generate enough of an income from what they produce to either live off or to genuinely and properly invest within their business. Many are operating at a level that is unsustainable and cannot continue.”

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