Dairy farmers across Angus are hoping for a fair deal

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DAIRY farmers from across Angus have joined forces to convince retailers and processors that they need to receive a fair price for milk (writes Sarah McLean).

Targeting middle ground retailers across Scotland, around a dozen farmers met outside Farm Foods in Forfar on Thursday, July 26.

In speaking to consumers about their concerns, the farmers and their families undertook a peaceful demonstration outside the store.

Joining the farmers were two young dairy calves who were there to show the public the next generation of milk producers.

The National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS), alongside other dairy farming organisations, have called for all recent price cuts to be rescinded.

Since the action started, a number of retailers have improved the price they pay to those who supply them with their own label milk.

While the change of heart is welcome, NFUS want to see all producers benefit from an improved price across the board.

NFU Scotland president, Nigel Miller, said: “A number of retailers have been convinced of the need to deliver a fairer price to hard-pressed dairy farmers.

“So far, those improved price announcements have been to the benefit of those lucky to be in the position of supplying a supermarket with its own label milk.

“However, it costs the same to produce milk on a farm supplying the liquid market as it does if your milk is going into cheese or butter. We want all dairy farmers to see their price returned to a sustainable level so that future production can be secured. That is something that consumers have given their backing to.”

Local dairy farmer Sandy Milne, from Carcary Farms, was at the peaceful demonstration in Forfar. He said: “We’re here to hopefully persuade middle ground retailers to stop dragging their feet about reversing the price drop.

“We are not solely targeting Farm Foods, it is all middle ground retailers. We are trying to persuade them to come together to work for the better and to help provide a better return for farmers.

Arlene Alston, a dairy farmer’s wife from Brechin, also took part in the demonstration. She said: “These supermarkets are selling milk for three or four pence cheaper than it costs to produce.

“There is so much that goes in to dairy farming - looking after the cattle, feeding them, looking out for their welfare and supporting households and workers.

“We need to target these middle ground retailers as they have the worst prices from our point of view. That is why we are holding these events.”

The farmers were pleased with the public reaction to their Scotland-wide campaign and it is hoped that change will soon be on the horizon in the dairy sector.