Farmer urges ‘buy British’
AFARMER who fears he will lose his livelihood if milk prices do not increase is encouraging shoppers to ‘Buy British’.
Mike Gorton, 59, from Harebarrow Farm in Over Alderley, has had the price he receives for his milk cut to just 15p per litre compared to 30p last year.
The farmer of 40 years, whose elderly parents live on his farm, says the high supply of milk and the low demand means supermarkets have slashed their prices, leaving farmers out of pocket.
He said: “It is absolutely dire, the worst situation ever. I am struggling to pay the bills and can’t see me producing milk beyond Christmas at the moment.
“I have to make a decision before the end of the year whether to stay in milk production or not.
“It is a tenanted farm so if I have to leave, my parents, who are in their 80s, would end up losing their home.”
Mike, who is chairman of the Northwest Dairy Board, says while he receives a grant of the £10,000 under the EU funded Basic Payment Scheme, which acts as a safety net for farmers, it still does not meet the cost of running the farm.
Farmers have been blockading distribution centres and buying up stocks of milk from store shelves and giving it away for free in protest against the low prices.
And Aldi, Lidl and Asda supermarkets have now promised to pay a minimum of 28p a litre, and Tesco, Waitrose, the Co-op and Sainsbury’s already pay more than the cost of production.
Morrisons, who have pledged 26p a litre from later this month, have also launched Milk for Farmers cheddar cheese, costing 34p per pack more than its standard cheddar and pledging the equivalent of a 10p per litre payment back to farmers who supply the milk.
But father-of-two Mike, who lives with his wife Pat
‘It is absolutely dire, the worst situation ever’
in Nether Alderley, said that although the price increases may indicate ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ nationally, they will not improve the price he gets for his milk in the short term, as the increase will go to the milk proces- sors who sell to the supermarkets.
He said: “It costs 24p to produce a litre of milk. I’ve been working 60 to 70 hours a week to produce it and supermarkets have been selling it for the price of bottled water.
“But the milk on the shelves won’t always be there as people won’t be able to afford to keep producing it.
“If we don’t act now in two years we may see high prices compounded by a shortage.”
●● Dairy farmer Mike Gorton fears his parents could lose their home if milk prices stay low