More protests set to target Leeds dairy over price cuts

Robin Dearden in the bottling plant at Arla Foods, Stourton, Leeds.

Robin Dearden in the bottling plant at Arla Foods, Stourton, Leeds.

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A Leeds dairy found itself once more targeted by protests from farmers disgruntled by cuts in the price they are paid for milk.

Around 500 farmers were expected to blockade Arla’s site on Savannah Way as farmers continue to warn that they will be forced out of business if recent price cuts are not reversed.

The price Arla is currently paying farmers for their milk is less than it costs them to produce it, leading many to fear that they will be forced out of business.

Stephen Frankland, a farmer from near Harrogate, was among those participating.

He told the YEP: “What we want is simple. We want the price cut planned for August 1 to be reversed. Then we are happy to talk.

“We need a price that is at least equal to the cost of production.”

Meanwhile Leeds-based supermarket Asda bowed to pressure by agreeing to up its rate to farmers.

A statement from the retail giant yesterday afternoon confirmed it was increasing the premium it pays by 3 pence per litre, bringing it closer to the cost of production.

An Asda spokeswoman said: “We understand the increasing cost pressures facing dairy farmers. That is why we were the first retailer to invest in increasing our premium to 3ppl last week to offset the cuts previously announced by Arla.

“We have continued to listen to our farmers and their growing concerns about the forecast cost of winter feeding. With that in mind, Asda will be increasing the premium paid to our DairyLink farmers by a further 2 pence per litre from August until the end of the year.

“The premium paid by Asda will be 5ppl above the Arla base price and mean Dairylink farmers are paid 29.5ppl.

“As well as taking direct action to support our farmers, we will continue to discuss the wider milk procurement model as part of our commitment to improving the sustainability of the British dairy supply chain, whilst at the same time continuing to help hard pressed families make ends meet.”

However Mr Frankland said that the rise should be applied to all of Asda’s suppliers.

“It is a step in the right direction but our action is designed to make sure everyone gets the cut in price brought back.”

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