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Protests at Droitwich dairy plant
3:58pm Monday 23rd July 2012 in Droitwich News
FURIOUS farmers blockaded a Droitwich dairy plant for the second time in three days last night (July 23) over a milk price dispute.
Around 200 placard-waving farmers rounded up tractors and trailers and surrounded Robert Wiseman dairy, in Hampton Lovett, Droitwich.
The protest, which was hastily organised yesterday, started at about 8pm, with many of them saying they planned to stay there until 2am this morning.
Farmer Lisa Wiles, 41, who owns land in Claines, Worcester, said: “We’ve had enough – we’re at risk of going out of business unless people start to listen.
“We’ve been messed around for too long and it’s time to take a stand.”
John Beattie, 59, who has farmed for 43 years near Bromsgrove, said: “We’re at breaking point - we need help or farmers will have to completely change their way of life.”
The country’s main dairy processors have announced price cuts of up to 2p per litre from August, triggering the protests.
The farmers say the move will mean many of them making crippling losses on providing milk.
Laurence Gibbs, 20, who comes from a family of farmers in Bromyard, said: “We’re being destroyed by greed - we’re asking for pennies, not pounds.”
A similar number of farmers blockaded the same plant on Friday night for around four hours. Organisers Farmers For Action (FFA) has also helped demonstrations take place in Somserset, Derbyshire, Leeds and Leicester in recent days.
Vice-chairman Andrew Hemmings said: “We're happy that we've got our message across.”
Their plight has been backed by Droitwich MP Peter Luff , who said he would be listening to their concerns.
He said: “I’m on the farmers side, we should be doing everything we can to help them.
“We need a viable, sustainable farming community and I’ve always thought it ludicrous we pay more for bottled water than milk.”
Two of the country’s supermarket giants have announced they will pay more for milk following the disturbances.
The Co-op will pay 29p a litre, up by nearly 2p, while Morrisons will hand over 31p, up by 5p.
But the pressure is now mounting on the dairy producers to up their rates.
Peter Kendall, from the National Farmers Union, said: “It’s critical other retailers and major buyers respond.”
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and farming minister Jim Paice are meeting dairy farmers today (July 23) in a bid to find a solution.
Robert Wiseman processes and delivers over 30 per cent of the fresh milk consumed in the UK.