Müller’s decision to drop its farmgate milk price last week looks to have prompted a fresh round of protests from lobby group Farmers for Action (FFA).
The group announced on Tuesday it would be meeting members this Thursday (12 February) at sites near Market Drayton in the West Midlands and Sedgemoor near Bridgwater in Somerset, to take direct action in the latest protest against plummeting farmgate milk prices.
Müller has facilities in both locations, and provoked the ire of farmers last week by announcing its March farmgate milk price would fall by 1.75ppl to 24.15ppl.
The price cut had been a “big blow,” said FFA chairman David Handley. “All the indicators were pointing to a situation which was starting to stabilise.”
Müller defended the cut – after holding its February price – by explaining it was a result of the “widening gap” between its price and those offered by other processors, “which could potentially affect Müller Wiseman’s ability to compete.”
“Our business cannot compete if the cost of the milk that we buy from farmers is substantially higher than that of our competitors,” said Müller Wiseman Dairies MD Carl Ravenhall.
However, the statement was denounced by the National Farmers Union’s dairy chairman Rob Harrison as “entirely unacceptable,” adding Müller’s declaration it was following others with price cuts was “a deplorable change in direction.”