Thursday, 23 August 2012

S.O.S. Dairy..... join the milk wagon!

In the UK large supermarkets often use milk as a ‘loss leader’. This means that in recent times the large dairies (milk wholesalers) who supply the supermarkets have been ‘squeezed’ to cut the price of milk they supply. If the dairies don’t comply the supermarkets will find cheaper suppliers abroad. In turn the suppliers squeeze the farmers who have nothing to squeeze other than a drop more milk out of the udders - if they're lucky!

The upshot of this has been significant cuts, in the price per litre paid to farmers, resulting in many farmers producing milk at a loss and going out of business. This, at a time when they are already suffering  as a result of the recession and continued financial crises.

I’m a bit out of touch with UK news, but before we came away farmers were blockading large dairies with tractors and other farm machinery. A representative of the NFU (National Union of Farmers) made a couple of points which really put the situation into perspective.
·        In 1960’s a pint of milk cost pennies less than a pint of beer-just think about the differential now!
·        Bottled milk can cost much less per litre than bottled water!

How can this be?
BREEZE and WILSON are a couple local singer songwriters based in the Staffordshire Moorlands (and very interesting people!) They are great supporters of local communities and have a large following in Staffordshire and beyond. We’ve been to a few of their concerts, in local village halls, and are always well entertained by their music and banter. They’ve written a song in support of the farmers…

Toby and Graham have made SOS Dairy available on iTunes to raise money for the Royal Agricultural Benovalent Institution. 
I notice that when I do my weekly shop that most weeks there are deals on milk. In common with most people I like a bargain, although I'd much rather that these deals were coming out of the very deep pockets of the supermarkets than the livelihood of the small producers ... 


  1. I agree. This is the power of the supermarkets at its worst. Sadly I think too many people just don't care as long as they're getting cheap food.
    We buy our milk from the farm gate where it's delicious, fresh and cheaper than in Tesco.

    BUT the same farmer is the one that has a planning applicantion for opencast mining on some of his land, which will have a huge impact on the village, so now I no longer feel like supporting him either. He has lost my sympathy vote.

  2. We love our fresh milk from La Borde - half a mile away! Use it or lose it!

    1. I agree, although I must confess I usually buy from the supermarket. However I am prepared to pay a fair price for it!

  3. Hi Jean,

    I remember your post. Your farmer is self serving and I can understand why he's lost your sympathy vote.

    The situation with milk prices can't continue. Farmers will go out of business, we'll import even more milk and when it isn't available or the price goes up we'll be back on to powdered milk! Do you remember Marvel?

  4. My uncle was a small dairy farmer and I used to love drinking fresh milk from the bulk tank, when he retired the farm was sold and is no longer a farm. Interestingly, on BBC Countryfile on Sunday it was reported that UK farmers do far better than MANY European farmers as far as milk prices are concerned... The protests will probably spread!

  5. SweetpeainFrance25 August 2012 at 00:29

    I prefer to purchase fresh milk, though it is demi-creme, yet because shops are a fair distance I keep UHT milk for emergency use. Unfortunately, I am not a huge consumer of milk nor beef BUT am truly happy to pay MUCH more for fresh milk produced by cows, goats or sheep, dairy products and good quality beef. I love good quality butter. For years, a vegetarian as a result of dietary necessity, I only ate margarine. Recently my taste buds were in shock, disgusted by the taste.
    I am keen to support all dairy farmers because it would be a heinous crime to let them as well as miners become extinct! Although, I am rather out of touch with Uk and Eu matters, please let me know how I can support the cause!
    Education is required, as some people in 21st century are still unaware as to where milk comes from. At least my 4 year grand daughter could tell me the facts ... so there is some hope for the planet!

  6. I have never been much of a milk drinker – I use a bit in my café au lait, once in a while, but for my cereals I use almond milk. I like the taste of goat milk though. I was going to try camel milk when I was in Dubai, but then I forgot – I did take many pictures of the camels though!