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Should we pay more for our milk?

Surveys say most are willing to pay more for milk

According to a consumer survey, more than half the people who took part in the poll said that they would be willing to pay more money for their milk, with the majority of those confirming that they would be happy to pay around 30% more than they currently do.

The results may bring a reassuring message to those who work in the dairy industry, but it will be little comfort for Britain’s troubled farmers who are being forced to continue to cut their milk prices by some of the leading supermarkets.

According to recent figures, falling wholesale prices have led to dairy farmers in the UK having an almost 50% loss in earnings since 2014. Their profit losses have been attributed to supermarket price wars forcing them to cut their prices, as well as countries such as China and Russia putting a ban on imported milk. As a result, many farmers in the UK are being forced to abandon their profession in favour of farming different livestock or even leaving the trade altogether. What’s more, the recent Brexit result has put farmers even further on the line as the EU had previously offered support payments in order to give the industry a helping hand.

As consumers, there is clearly little we can do about the impact of international politics on the plight of our dairy farmers, but there is something we can do to help: demand that farmers are paid a fair price for their milk and other dairy products.

Last year, over 50 MPs signed a motion to demand that farmers receive a fair price for their milk. Since then, action groups have successfully launched campaigns to continue the demand for paying farmers a fair price. The NFU has outlined the big supermarkets who have made progress in supporting the British dairy industry, and now Morrisons has announced that all milk in their stores is 100% British, and that they pay a minimum price to their suppliers. They have even launched the Milk For Farmers campaign, which guarantees that 23p from every four pint bottle sold is paid back to their farmer suppliers (via the farmer co-operative Arla).

This is encouraging to read, but the dairy industry in this country still remains in crisis.

What should I do?

The NFU has a great shopping guide to tell you which retailers sell their milk for a fair price to ensure the farmers make a profit. They also suggest consumers look for the red tractor badge on all dairy products, to ensure we support our dairy industry here in the UK. You can also get involved by signing the petition, and you could even write you your MP to express your concerns.

Let’s keep dairy cows a feature of the UK landscape by giving a fair deal to farmers. Let’s encourage farmers to keep producing exceptional British milk, and let them know how much it means to us. And most of all, let’s hope that all of us who want to pay more for our milk will soon be able to do so.

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