Milk farm­ers call on MP in fair pric­ing fight

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

MILK farm­ers called an ur­gent meet­ing with MP David Rut­ley to ask for his help in their des­per­ate bid for fairer pric­ing.

The Na­tional Farm­ers Union ( NFU) mem­bers told the Mac­cles­field MP about their con­cerns over the price be­ing paid for milk - in some cases less than it costs to pro­duce.

Mike Gor­ton, farmer at Hare­bar­row Farm in Over Alder­ley and Mac­cles­field’s NFU branch chair­man, gets only 15p per litre of milk, which costs him 24p to pro­duce. Mike said he will be out of busi­ness by Christ­mas if things don’t im­prove. He says there are var­i­ous cir­cum­stances in­flu­enc­ing prices, but that su­per­mar­ket dis­counts is among them.

Mike said: “There are a num­ber of things af­fect­ing prices in­clud­ing global mar­ket fac­tors such as Rus­sia’s ban on EU dairy. We wanted to make sure David Rut­ley was fully aware of the sit­u­a­tion.

“In Mac­cles­field, we have some farm­ers on aligned con­tracts with the su­per­mar­kets through Muller Wise­man at Traf­ford Park which means they get 30p a litre, but I sell through a farmer’s co­op­er­a­tive First Milk and only get 15p.

“It’s about sup­ply ver­sus de­mand. De­mand hasn’t in­creased glob­ally like we pre­dicted.

“And su­per­mar­kets are to blame too, they use milk as a weapon to drop prices and in­crease foot­fall. They have de­val­ued the milk but peo­ple aren’t buy­ing more.

“We told David Rut­ley how im­por­tant it is for peo­ple to buy Bri­tish, in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment of­fices and the NHS.

“Peo­ple in Mac­cles­field should look out for the Red Trac­tor logo which means milk is Bri­tish and good qual­ity.

“Milk is my only source of in­come and I will be out of busi­ness by Christ­mas if things don’t im­prove.

“There’s got to be light at end of the tun­nel.”

MP David Rut­ley said the gov­ern­ment is work­ing to as­sist dairy farm­ers in­clud­ing urg­ing HM Rev­enue and Cus­toms to be sym­pa­thetic to­wards the in­dus­try and open­ing new ex­port mar­kets.

He promised to speak to Ge­orge Eus­tice, the Farm­ing and Food Min­is­ter to raise the con­cerns, adding: “Farm­ers do in­valu­able work for the lo­cal and ru­ral econ­omy and are im­por­tant stew­ards of our much loved coun­try­side.”

The farm­ers also raised the is­sue of tu­ber­cu­lo­sis among badgers which pass the dis­ease to cat­tle.

A sur­vey of more than 100 badgers found dead on Cheshire roads showed that more than 25 per cent had the dis­ease, a fig­ure much higher than pre­dicted.

●● milk farm­ers met with Mac­cles­field MP David Rut­ley to dis­cuss un­fair pric­ing

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