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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Dairy prices petition goes to Downing Street

SOUTH Lakeland farmers were joined by their MP as they presented a petition to Downing Street.

MP Tim Farron, alongside the leader of South Lakeland District Council, Councillor Peter Thornton, and local farmers Derek and Mary Lomax and Michael Packham handed in the petition, bearing hundreds of names, to Number 10 last week.

The petition, calling for fairer dairy prices, was launched at the Westmorland Show in September and led by the National Farmers’ Union.

Mr Farron recently gave his backing to the NFU’s 10 point plan which is designed to secure the long term future of the dairy industry.

At the recent Livestock 2012 event organisations representing dairy farmers and processors agreed a voluntary code of practice covering milk contracts.

Despite small climbdowns from dairy companies, including Robert Wiseman and Arla Muller, farmers still lose around 5p on every pint they produce.

The average cost of production is 30p per pint.

Mr Farron said: “Every farmer should receive a fair price for their milk – one which at least covers their costs to produce milk.

“A few weeks into the new voluntary code and already we’re starting to see slight changes in behaviour from the supermarkets and the middle men; however this must not be the end. This petition firmly puts the ball in the government’s court.

“It is about fighting hard alongside the NFU and local farmers to defend their interests.

“The introduction of the Grocery Codes Adjudicator, which is currently going through Parliament, is an important step forward but I want to make sure that the government doesn’t sit back and think that is enough.”

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