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Hampshire dairy farmers support nationwide protest
DAIRY farmers in north Hampshire have been talking about the row over milk prices which has sparked major protests.
Hundreds of farmers have protested across the country in the past week, angry at a cut of up to two pence per litre in the amount they receive from major milk processors. The cut will come into force from August 1 and comes on the back of a similar one in April.
The processors claim that a fall in the price of cream must be reflected in the price they pay to UK farmers.
Both Stephen Marks, of Blacklands Farm, Old Basing, and James Crosbie-Dawson, of Northington Farm, Overton, are part of a group of 30 local farmers who supply milk to the Fareham-based Medina Processing Limited.
Their group set-up protects them from the worst of the cuts, but the money they receive has still dropped from around 28p per litre to 24p. It costs around 30p per litre to produce milk.
Mr Marks, who has a herd of more than 100 cows, told The Gazette : “I have not been to the protests because I have not much staff and too much work, but I fully support them.
“If I cannot see light at the end of the tunnel then I will get rid of dairy farming. If a hotel was losing money doing funeral wakes, then they would stop doing them. There would be no point in continuing.”
Mr Crosbie-Dawson, whose herd is 150-strong, is more optimistic. He said the protests have seen supermarkets increase the amount they pay for milk and a draft code of practice agreed between farmers and milk processors.
He added: “My guess is that quite a lot of this (the price cut) is going to be reversed. Because of the action, the public really do feel that the farmers have been pretty badly treated.”
Mr Crosbie-Dawson, right, also believes prices would rise if the dairy industry diversified into producing more cheese and butter, a large portion of which is currently imported.
The Government was due to meet major retailers yesterday to discuss the price dispute.