UK farmers following the French; stage tractor protest

UK farmers staged a rolling tractor road block last week on the A50 in Staffordshire, UK, in protest about falling milk and lamb prices.

The protest happened on the same day that Arla Foods cut their UK milk price for the third consecutive month in a row by 1c/kg.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said it was not affiliated with the protest and that between 30-40 tractors took part in the protest.

NFU Dairy Board Chairman Rob Harrison said that dairy farmers across the UK are struggling after months of milk price cuts, the latest from Arla today.

“We know that there’s no respite in the short term but taking direct action in this way is not going to help overcome current market issues.

“Instead we’re working with Farmers For Action (FFA) and Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) to identify and publicise bad practice in the supply chain, increase consumer support for British dairy products and provide short term support to those that need it.

“While this is a global downturn in dairy markets, there’s much more that can be done in the UK dairy supply chain to ensure fairer returns to our hard working farmers,” Harrison said.

Farmers for Action (FFA), a group representing UK farmers, said that it feels the protest will not benefit their cause in the short term.

“Although we understand the frustration and anger of those who today have been protesting on the A50, we feel very strongly this will not benefit our cause in the short term.

“The last people we should be dragging into our argument with retailers, food service industry, milk processors and the government is the general public, who at the end of the day are our consumers who put the money in the tills that comes down the supply chain to pay for our marvellous products,” it said.

France

The UK protest came only days after French farmers blocked roads in northwestern France in protest against the low prices they are receiving for their produce.

The blockade began on Sunday (July 19) evening with farmers across Normandy blocking the roads in the town of Caen.

The French Minister for Agriculture, Stephane Le Foll, has said that there is an agricultural crisis in the beef, pork and dairy sectors in France.

Since the start of the year, he said that figures collected by his department show that some 23,000 French farmers are on the verge of bankruptcy.

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