Our own David Handley will again be sharing his views at Speakers Corner on The Dairy Farmer stand from 11 am.

Speakers will be giving their thoughts on future of milk production in next few years such as volatility, fixed contracts,

slow delivery of improved prices, structure of industry needed to better face times ahead, improved efficiency,

countering opposition to dairy, industry indebtedness etc. and of course Brexit.




At a meeting on Monday, under the heading of NI Farm Groups, organised by NI FFA co-ordinator, William Taylor  250 dairy farmers from across NI and beyond converged on the central location of Cookstown for a momentous meeting.

Represented at the top table under the heading of Northern Ireland Farm Groups were Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association Chairman Michael Clarke, Fair Price NI spokesperson Charlie Weir, Holstein UK NI representative John Martin and Farmers For Action NI co-ordinator William Taylor.

Votes were taken as follows:- 

Compere Robert Irwin, editor of Northern Ireland’s Farm Week, judged the mood of the meeting to ask the panel could an initial vote ask the question to the audience, ‘How many dairy farmers see themselves producing milk in two years time, if things continue as they are?’3 people out of the 250 audience put their hand up that they would still be producing milk.

The next vote was unique to Northern Ireland and requested how many people favour three weeks advance notice of the milk price to be paid for the next months’ milk, as is the case in GB?This vote was unanimous!

The final Strike vote was taken after much debate and questions and concerns people had for and against.The message from the panel was clear, the strike vote was to give the members of Northern Ireland Farm Groups on this serious milk issue a valuable tool in the tool box to meet the co-op processors purchasing milk in Northern Ireland forthwith and make it clear to them that we have a mandate to strike before Christmas, if they refuse to deliver a market related fair milk price immediately.That Strike vote was unexpectedly unanimous with the exception of three hands – the panel were amazed at the strength of feeling which was explained after the meeting very well by one middle aged plus farmer and a young farmer, to quote them, “young and old we are absolutely fed up to the back teeth with this situation!”

In a statement released by Northern Ireland Farm Groups since the meeting, they are appealing for the Ulster Farmers Union to join them in a united front


Last week we gave an opportunity for our members to put forward their questions to the retailers and food service sector with whom FFA had scheduled meetings.

The response from the membership was tremendous with a number of very interesting questions.Therefore, David Handley from FFA met with two retailers over 2 days last week and was able to put a number of those questions forward and which gave the people concerned a lot to ponder on regarding the issues that FFA membership had raised.

One of the main topics raised with retailers was the issue of non aligned milk producers, those who are always being dragged along at the bottom of the dairy supply chain.FFA has for some time, working together with their commercial partner, been looking into this issue and we feel there is a solution in the form of a modern day milk marketing board.This could be achieved with willingness throughout the industry by using the tools that both the EU and DEFRA have given us.This is in the form of Producer Organisations, small, medium,large and speciality milk producers being brought together under one marketing umbrella.This raised a number of questions from last week's meetings and further meetings with other retailers and those in the dairy supply chain are planned over the coming weeks.

FFA believe with Brexit together with all that is currently happening in the global dairy industry, the next generation of dairy farmers have a tremendous amount to look forward to.It is up to us, the industry representation, to push innovation to the forefront, especially for those who are not aligned to supplying milk to a major retailer, in fact FFA believe it is our duty to find a way to bring these people into a position where they also can be profitable in the dairy supply chain.At FFA we have certainly found that working with a commercial partner over recent months, there are exciting prospects to be developed in the British Dairy Industry, such as futures marketing (an industry insurance policy), more ways to utilise British milk to find more funding for promotion and above all brands, the main one of these must be British Milk and how we tell the story to consumers.We will obviously keep our members posted how all of this is progressing in the coming weeks and update them on the reaction from our customers going forward.


FFA chairman, David Handley, will be speaking at the SW Dairy event at Shepton Mallet on 5 October.Members please come along and show your support, we look forward especially to meeting the next generation of dairy farmers.


Why are consumers having to pay when the markets are delivering money in bucket loads ie fats, powders butter etc.,


MORE UNREST IN DAIRY SECTOR  https://www.fginsight.com/news/delayed-milk-price-...



For those who have disagreed with FFA's protest at Muller, today's announcement of their formula milk price for the 1 September shows we were completely vindicated in our action.

Surely now, based on a market related formula price increase, Muller has no choice but to increase the base price to non aligned producers. Until that happens we will continue our actions.


THURSDAY 11/8/2016

MIDLANDS - MEET MARKET DRAYTON CATTLE MARKET, SHROPS, TF9 3SW 8 pm  Contact details: Tom Houghton 07540704887 and Rob Morgan 07870139901

Meet Darlston Inn Car Park, ST15 0PX or Rectory Farm, DE6 5HR at 8 pm Contact Matthew Weaver  07970 211668  for further details

8.30PM , M5 (Junct 19)    BS20 7XG
Contact details: James Hole 07971254652  and David Handley 07711194947

Once again it is your choice, your organisation, your industry you are fighting for.


 While Muller's benign Farmer Board sit back and accept no price increase for September, farmers and farmworkers seek record amounts of monies from charities.RABI in Wales paid out £60k to hard up farmers and farmworkers in the months Jan to July 2016, an increase of 84% on same period last year, yet Muller's management continue to drive around in their Range Rovers, BMWs and Mercedes.This is a disgrace in 2016.The company shows no corporate responsibility or any respect for their hard working non aligned producers.

We now need to inform the consumer head on, that this brand sends its producers to the charity queue.




We have been contacted by several milk producers concerned that

their milk price is not increasing in line with demand.

This is your opportunity to come along and voice your opinions,

we need huge numbers to make things happen, so pass the

message around and together by showing solidarity, we can

achieve our aim. Large turnout = success, low turnout = failure. Things do not happen. Things are made to happen. Remember, it is your choice, your organisation, your industry.

Contact details: Tom Houghton 07540704887 and Rob Morgan 07870139901



Firstly I would like to ask all who view this for their comments please.


Farm gate milk price for some currently milk 12.5ppl

  • average retail price 80ppl
  • average cheese retail price £7,500 per ton.

Question - who is making the profit, does this industry need investigating and above all why aren't there thousands of us on the streets?

All answers will be treated in total confidence.secretary@farmersforaction.org

Following recent protest at B & M we have now been in contact with the owners who have been very open with us, dialogue is continuing but certainly at this moment in time they are very willing to purchase more British product especially on milk.We plan further discussions and meetings in the coming weeks to develop this further (every little helps!)

Next week we plan further protests and would therefore be looking for as much support as possible.I know these are difficult times but unless we stand up and make a noise I am afraid we are going to be walked all over as some of us already are.Keep watching for details.

Those of you who are members make sure your current details are up to date with the office so that you get the current information.


Those of you who are not members, we would urge you to join as without our membership, we cannot continue to lobby effectively on all the issues that affect our industry. Membership is £50 pa, that is just 96p per week to be part of an organisation that dares to go where others would not dip their toe!

Go to http://farmersforaction.org/join-renew-ffa-members... give us a ring on 01291 690224/07710 640567 where you can join up.


We still have Hoodies, Gilets, Baseball caps and stickers available at

http://farmersforaction.org/merchandise or again you can order by ringing 01291 690224/07710640567



There will be a protest against imported milk
on Tuesday 19 April 2016

Meet at Salt Cellar Pub, Middlewich, Cheshire CW10 0JZ at 7.45pm

Tractors/machinery welcome.

Please ring Tom Houghton 07540704887 or Rob Morgan 07870139901
for further details


Today our dairy industry has taken another massive blow. Announcements have reached some farmers that their milk price could be 12ppl or below.This means bankruptcy in anybodies language who is a dairy producer.

Tomorrow there will be a meeting held at Stoneleigh into this crisis.One thing that must come out of this meeting as far as FFA is concerned , we have to have some form of volume control or alternative way of controlling imports.Products such as cheese and butter are increasing daily from abroad whilst our own dairy farmers go to the wall.A line must be drawn in the sand and this needs to end.

Tomorrow must not be a talking shop, it must be a meeting that delivers something to hard-pressed dairy farmers.It will not be a day to be discussing efficiency and how to produce grass.The destiny of all farmers that produce milk in this country is in their hands.They are now looking for strong leadership and we should not be afraid to tell them the truth.The easiest thing in the world to do is still someone what they want to hear but we are way past that now and some honesty has to come forward however unpleasant.

Retailers continue to grow aligned contracts but our question for everyone at this conference is, who is paying for the balancing of these contracts? and we have a very strong message for the retailers and that is once the London March is completed we are coming to your doors, we are not prepared to see 70% of the industry take the pain whilst 30% prosper.Also, maybe retailers will be interested to know that they are actually bringing in imported milk as many of these farms who produce for them, are getting their bloodlines from other European countries, it would be interesting to see how the general public would react to the slogan 'milk in this store comes from imported cows'.Now is the time for action and leadership.



A meeting was held last week with Meadow Foods.This company has obviously come under the spotlight in recent weeks by posting increasing profits whilst paying a very poor milk price.Our representatives at the meeting were Tom Houghton, FFA Co-ordinator NW and two Meadow Foods producers.As we have always said any discussion should involve those that actually sell to Meadow Foods.The feedback from the meeting was very positive, both Simon Chantler and Jim Bebb listened intently at what they were being told.They also shared a lot of information in respect of the current milk price crisis and their plans going forward.

We have to give credit to this company for being prepared to come out and defend their stance on milk pricing, which is a lot more than some of the other major milk processors are even prepared to do, other than the usual press statement which means nothing to hard pressed dairy farmers.

FFA will be meeting with Meadow Foods again over the coming weeks and months as we have a number of initiatives which are currently being looked into by both parties.We have to emphasise there is no quick fix in this whole disastrous situation facing dairy farmers but we will ensure all our members we will give 100% commitment to try and reverse this dire situation as fast as we possibly can and leave no stone unturned.

Meadow Foods have very kindly offered to sponsor a coach for the London March for its producers and if there are spare seats available to any other producer.Contact telephone number should you want to book a seat 01244 629480



Although not a price increase, it was good to see today that Meadow Foods have announced they will not be reducing their milk price for March.Although we understand how difficult it is for dairy farmers to produce milk at 19ppl, it would have been another disaster if they had dropped their milk price further.We are currently in talks with the above company and are duly meeting with them in the next week or so and will keep you all posted



It seems that some farmer representatives are getting their knickers in a twist over comments on this site. So for clear transparency in relation to the above issue, FFA have no problem with any single dairy farmer receiving the benefit of more money from British milk arriving in their bank accounts. ie the Muller producers, a minority, who will benefit from the extra 200m litres of milk gained through Tesco's decision.
but as stated it is a small number who will benefit, it is the majority that will end up being the losers. Those lucky enough and who live in the right area and by an act of God have received a COP contract need to remember that before they start throwing stones.
The issue with Arla everybody seems to be forgetting is that yes, money is going to a substantial number of European dairy farmers but also remember before you are critical of Arla, that the money comes back the other way to the benefit of 3,800 British dairy farmers. This is the problem with our dairy industry in the UK, instead of us all trying to work together for the benefit of everyone, individuals, both producers and other organisations seem to love to stir rather than work to secure a future. We hope this now makes it perfectly clear FFA's concern in this whole matter is the impact of the 200m litres that Tesco in their wisdom have decided to push into the abyss and the impact that will have on every other non COP producer.


What a joke! Christine Tacon, head of GCA, gives Dave Lewis and his team a slap on the wrists for yet another Tesco misdemeanour. Most people in the industry thought Christine had the power to fine until she dropped the bomb shell when as a witness at an EFRA enquiry into dairy, she had no powers to fine. This whole GCA issue has been a sham, no government is going to fine a giant corporate plc who sells food at giveaway prices yet sits back and allows an industry to follow what has already happened to the coal and steel industry. If anyone out there is expecting any retailer to be shaking in their boots when they hear GCA may be sniffing around, think again.


Following last night's FFA meeting, there were only two major issues on the agenda and that was the decision by Tesco to remove 200m litres of milk from Arla and give to Muller and what should we do about it. The decision was that we should wait a few days whilst this unfolds, ever in the hope Tesco might have a change of mind. If they do not it was a unanimous vote that action has to be taken.

On the issue of another milk processor, Meadow Foods, it was decided that if enough of their producers were prepared to support further protest, and we could get the backing of other organisations to notify their members, we will be back at their door fairly quickly, as there is unfinished business. But the Chairman was instructed to talk with Meadow Foods to see if some negotiated settlement could be achieved.

Before everyone starts getting excited, we only talking of days to wait.


********MILK SHOCK******* UPDATE ********

We are prepared to name the retailer.It is none other than 'every little helps' Tesco!

They are removing 200m litres of milk from Arla, a farmer owned co-op and are giving that quantity to independently owned Muller.This means 200m litres of milk is destined for Westbury at a farm gate price of around 16ppl.In Farmers For Action's view this is totally irresponsible of Tesco were operating a 50/50 share between the two companies.We feel this has been done at a time when the dairy industry is facing some of its darkest hours.

In response, Tesco will obviously say, which will be correct, they are still paying a COP figure to all their producers and we support that, but this has decimated the rest of the liquid dairy sector.Whilst this is happening, we understand from various sources that Muller are offering liquid milk at discounted prices to try and get business away from Arla. You would now question the comments of NFU, Rob Harrison, suggesting farmers should look for an exit strategy (how long has the NFU known about the above?)I think a public statement from the President himself should tell the industry he knew nothing of this or if he did, when.

Since posting last night this revelation, we now understand that an individual employed by Tesco has said the decision has not yet been finalised.We find this very interesting especially on the day when Tesco have been found guilty by the Grocery Code Adjudicator of bad practice.So we say to you Tesco, if you want to avoid thousands of farmers coming to your stores to tell the consumer, shutting down your distribution centres, you need to reinstate a farmer owner co-op as your 50% supplier on liquid milk.If not, a fight you will have, the rest of us have got nothing to lose.Your actions will impact on all but your own selected bunch of dairy producers.We are not prepared to sit back and accept what you are doing.You can issue Writs, threaten legal action, you can do what you like because we are about to fight to stop our industry being destroyed by you, a major retailer.


This proposal seems to have gone down well. We want it to involve all sectors of the industry.In 6 hours last night we had over 1,000 pledges by producers and supporters to go to London, straight to Mr Cameron and say we are not going the same way as British coal, British steel and many other industries without a fight.


You could avoid this, Mr Cameron, if you attended to what Tesco are currently trying to do to the dairy sector.You and your government have let our industry down, you have let the countryside down, you made promises to many sectors that you were going to turn things around, what has your government done?Ms Truss has told us to go to China, a failing economy, you with your European colleagues have closed the door on Russia, have made enemies where there was no need to do so.

British farmers, are the backbone of both food production and caring for the countryside in the UK.In recent months we have been blamed for the serious flooding, we have been blamed for the negative effect we have on the environment by several commentators, so within the next few weeks plans are afoot, we are coming to the capital and would hope that your yourself will be prepared to meet with us and hear what ordinary, hardworking farmers have got to say.We will not be fobbed off with your or your Ministers having cosy chats with the NFU to try and stop this from happening.



********MILK SHOCK*******

A major British retailer, in one clean sweep, is about to decimate the liquid milk sector.We also have knowledge that a German milk processor is currently offering milk to other retailers at up to a 7ppl discount.These actions are going to create a stark two tier milk industry with those producers Who Have, and all the rest of us paying the price, and will blow our industry wide apart.

We will obviously keep all members informed over the next week to 10 days as this unfolds but would say dust off your winter woollies, because this is going to be boom or bust for many, many dairy producers.The gloves are off and we will not go down without a fight, if we have to suffer and lose our businesses, we will make 100% sure that those causing this devastation suffer too.

We would totally agree with Rob Harrison, NFU Dairy Chairman, in that a lot of dairy farmers should be looking at an exit strategy or alternatively, all the Have Nots coming together as one under a Producer Organisation and we reinvent the MMB.

Your choice, all views very welcome.

David Handley


8/12/15 Morrisons have just announced that they are moving 4 pints of milk to £1. Well done Morrisons. Another major retailer is also about to follow suit.


MILK MARKET There seems to be some confusion over FFA's release that another major retailer is going to increase 4 pints of milk back to £1. Can we reiterate, we put no date to this increase but we are assured again today it is happening. If anyone at that retailer is now considering playing games maybe you should be put back to the top of the Christmas protest league table.

CHEESE Talking to various cheese processors and various analysts this week, FFA are deeply concerned about the volume of cheese that is in storage, with some processors finding it very difficult to find storage. This brings us on to the issue of the volumes of milk we as dairy farmers are producing.We have to remember cheese that goes into storage, will eventually have to come onto the market, and this could happen just as we start to see some recovery.

Having cheese at a market saturation point in FFA's opinion, is very, very dangerous. We really all need to look, both dairy farmer and processor, at where we are going with this fantastic product.

CHEESE PROMOTION There is some very disturbing news coming out this week on cheese consumption. The issue being that the largest consumer of cheddar cheese is over the age of 65, and as someone who is reaching that point very rapidly, your volume consumption tends to drop off. The under 35s are consuming considerably less in % terms and remember they are the volume consumers. This is very, very dangerous stuff because they are our cheese consumers of the future.

This surely must indicate to those in power and those who say they represent our industry, more of our money must be spent on promotion of great British dairy. We don't think there is an argument that could be brought about to say otherwise and we are sure every dairy farmer would rather see their money being spent, however small that amount is, in promoting and selling our products.

There are plenty of consultants out there who can advise on other matters concerning dairy farming, maybe it is time for a summit meeting to be called to discuss this issue where we would suggest involving the Agricultural Minister.

At FFA would be very interested in our members' views on this issue, please forward your views to the office secretary@farmersforaction.org

MEADOW FOODS Since protesting at Meadow Foods there has been no direct communication between them and FFA. Therefore, it looks as though it will be necessary to continue the protest. On the back of this we are also writing letters to all the CEOs of the food manufacturing industry asking a number of questions and we are sure some of these businesses are customers of Meadow Foods.

Believe us, FFAs resolve to find where every penny is being hidden in this dairy supply chain will be continuing with vigour. No stone will be left unturned, so to all in the dairy supply chain, why not come clean and lets see if we can get our industry back to where it should be - which is everybody making a sustainable, profitable living.

AHDB/NFU (Old Boys Network) We have in our opinion at the top of AHDB, a brilliant mind and communicator in Sir Peter Kendall, a man that turned the NFU completely around, so I question why, oh why are we seeing a continual flow of failed NFU officials being given jobs at AHDB? The latest being ex vice president Adam Quinney, who for failure to do his job properly was booted out by the NFU membership. He now stands alongside Gwyn Jones and Paul Temple both removed by farmer members.

So Sir Peter, why are you now using farmers' money to pay people who farmers already told the NFU were not fit for purpose? We look forward as a levy paying farmers to hear your reasons behind the appointment of these individuals.