FOR ATTN OF NORTH WEST/MIDLANDS
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
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
THE TESCO/ARLA DEBACLE
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.
GROCERY CODE ADJUDICATOR ANNOUNCMENT ON TESCO
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.
FFA COMMITTEE MEETING 26/1/2016
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.
MARCH TO WESTMINSTER
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.
TO PRIME MINSTER DAVID CAMERON
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.
WE ARE COMING!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.