Just back from the crisis meeting of the UK Dairy farmers, this afternoon, [see packed hall] who are in desperate trouble, because there have been severe cuts to the price of milk, by the retailers and supermarkets. Effectively milk is now being produced at a price [around 30p base price] and then purchased by the retailers at a cost below 30p - sometimes as little as 25p.
I could only stay for 40 minutes at the meeting because of the Air Ambulance Debate, but there is no doubt that the supermarkets and retailers should hang their head in shame. As one farmer put it: "how have we reached a situation where Tesco runs the country?"
I know some constituents attended amongst the thousands who were there but I am meeting some of my dairy farmers next week, and will be trying to speak to Jim Paice the Agriculture Minister in the intervening period.
For a fuller report: see here: http://www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/story/2012-07-11/dairy-farmers-protest/