Live Cows in Supermarkets Cause Chaos
Dairy Farmers protest milk prices using live cows...
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Dairy Farming is a 24 hour a day seven day a week physically tiring job. It costs a farmer between 28-31p to produce a litre of milk, it then goes to a processing diary to get it fit for sale and from there sold to supermarkets.
Some supermarkets like Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsburys and Marks and Spencers pay above the production costs, whilst others like Morrisons, Aldi and Asda are among those that were/are paying below the production costs; it is the latter supermarkets that have prompted protests.
Farmers have been protesting in supermarkets like Asda - who pay farmers less than the cost of production per litre of milk - meaning that the farmer is losing around 2p per litre, making it unsustainable. They have been protesting by parading live cows into supermarkets across the country, clearing the shelves of milk and making their own version of the ‘ice bucket’ challenge using milk instead of water. The protests have made an impact- being shown on national television, leading to supermarkets agreeing to talks.
Meetings have been taking place between supermarkets and farming unions for example the NFU (National Farmers Union) and Morrisons to try and agree a deal between the two, so that the farmers can supply the milk and get paid a fair price for it. So far Morrisons have agreed to start selling a new range of milk that pays the farmers a fair price; it will sell for 10p a litre more than the usual Morrisons milk. The fear of some farmers is that if the price of milk per litre does rise, that the extra will actually to the processor, not the farmer.
Thousands of small, usually family owned farms have had to be sold losing part of the countryside heritage. The effect can be massive on the countryside and community - the loss of a family farm that has been passed down through generations can be traumatic for not only the farmers and families but also the local economy; a dairy farm provides jobs for other agricultural industries, for example engineers and dealers for equipment, so the impact on the wider community can be felt.
The reason the price for milk is low is because there is more supply than there is demand- the 28 EU countries are producing more milk than in 2014, and since the end of March quotas for milk production have been abolished, so there is no limit on the amount of milk that can be produced.
Farmers can go alone without the supermarkets to sell their milk by selling it via farm shops and farmers markets; this means that they can set the price of their milk.
To keep the UK dairy industry alive the supermarkets and ourselves need to be prepared to pay more for milk.