David Handley, chairman of Farmers For Action (FFA), said: “We will continue the protests at depots until everyone has rescinded the price cuts.
“We also want to track the money that was taken from us in May/June. We have given them four weeks to show us their accounts so we can see where the money went and we want some of it back.
Totally vindicates our action
“The decision to reverse the price cuts totally vindicates our action and shows there was no need for what they did.”
Following announcements from many retailers that they would be paying a premium to farmers, three leading milk processors announced they would not be implementing the planned cuts.
Arla Foods said that having recovered money from its customers, and by increasing its non-aligned premium, it would no longer have to implement the cut.
Ash Amirahmadi, Arla’s head of milk procurement said: “I am pleased to confirm that Arla is in a position to maintain a standard litre price of 27p for non-aligned members of Arla Foods Milk Partnership. We have agreed a transparent reconciliation method with our customers and our supplying farmers to demonstrate that all of the money recovered from the marketplace has been paid out in full.”
Mike Sheldon, Dairy Crest’s milk procurement director, said it was setting aside the cut for two months.
Two of Dairy Crest’s customers have agreed to pay a supplement to support farmers. Although all of the additional revenue from these customers will be fed back to farmers, he said it was not enough to completely offset the proposed cut. However, in the short term, while discussions with other customers were ongoing, Dairy Crest would make up any shortfall itself.
First Milk also confirmed it would not be going ahead with the cut. Its chief executive, Kate Allum, commented: “While we have still to complete discussions with our liquid processor customers, we have a responsibility to our farmers to show leadership in this situation and remove any uncertainty. On that basis, we have decided to immediately withdraw the planned August price cuts that were put in place as a result of moves by our liquid customers."
The decisions heap pressure on the trio’s major competitor, Robert Wiseman Dairies. A spokesman said: “We do not have the income to sustain the current milk price at the current levels but we fully understand dairy farmers’ concerns at a time when on-farm costs are rising.
“We are in active and constructive discussions with our customers and also the National Farmers Union with a view to finding the means to resolve this issue.”