As Stephenson’s Dairy highlighted a couple of weeks ago, farmers have been putting increasing pressure on supermarkets to increase the price they pay farmers for milk.
Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl have all agreed to raise their milk prices, but to amounts still considered less than the cost of milk production.
According to The Guardian online, the estimated cost of producing milk is currently 30p a litre.
To pay less than 30p a litre therefore forces dairy farmers to make difficult decisions or risk going out of business.
As dairy farmers are financially squeezed, they are forced to produce more for less.
This leads to the intensification of dairy farms, and animal welfare being sacrificed for profits.*
What are we to do?
If we are to counter this broken food system, we need to work more closely with farmers.
We can buy directly from farm gates, and we can support schemes which allow farmers to deliver directly to shops and customers.
We can also put pressure on our local milk delivery systems (milkmen/women and local shops) to source organic and free range milk.
We can question the price they pay directly to farmers for their milk. We can let businesses know that we, as customers, care and are not willing to let these issues go.
It is in this light I challenge you to spot your milkman/woman!
Through my work with local food, I have come to realise milkmen and woman are a mysterious bunch of people.
Their online presence is zero, and trying to track them down is like trying to track down a ghost. It is clear there ARE a number of milk floats drifting around Lancashire in the early morning.
But ... who drives these milk floats? Where do they source their milk from?
Where do they deliver to? How can you start getting a delivery? What products do they offer other than milk? How much does it cost to get a delivery?
I call on the people of Lancashire to help find answers to these questions. If you see a milk float, chase it down and get to know the driver and their products. Let’s get to know our milkmen/women!
If you find any answers to the questions above, you could post them on www.lessuk.org/blog or send them to LESS, PC22, The Storey Institute, Lancaster, LA1 1TH. We will then share this information.
* A discussion of the issues associated with the dairy industry are summarised on Compassion In World Farming’s website: www.ciwf.org.uk.