Chairman's  Comment 

Two meetings on the serious issue now facing dairy farmers going into winter have been held, both having been a total success and showing total support for FFA led campaign.
As those of you who have attended are aware, you were asked to fill in details of quota and milk buyer. The attendance at both meetings plus external member support
represents in excess of 1 billion litres of milk.

As Chairman of FFA, I cannot see how any other body can say we have to put up with this situation. With more meetings scheduled and in the pipeline, we may get close to 1/3 of milk representation
in the UK. Despite all our efforts so far, without protest, I fear today or tomorrow could be gloomy on the price front as we think Arla are going to announce a further milk price cut.
On a slightly positive note in reality it should only impact on 3,000 dairy producers as the other 7,000 are not on a global price contract. 

David Handley


Fantastic turnout at Market Drayton meeting last night, well over 450 attended.  Overwhelming vote for direct
action if needed. Was lead story on Midlands Today News link here http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04h7jsd/midlands-today-18092014.  Thank you everybody who attended
Looking forward to Carmarthen meeting next Thursday.


Latest Sainsburys, COP  figure 32.41p/l just 0.62p/l down. Confirms what we have been saying producers are once again being ripped off!!!!!




THURSDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2014 7.30pm for 8 pm

Your speaker will be David Handley, Chairman of FFA so it will surely be a very informative and
animated evening.

Non members also welcome, so bring along a car load and share your views on the way forward
in the current turmoil within our industry. The restaurant will be open to serve light refreshments.


Daily Mail clarification re Dr Roker's comments has been published today on Page 2 of the newspaper
in response to FFA's complaint lodged to the Press Complaints Commission.



THURSDAY 18 SEPTEMBER 2014 7.30pm for 8 pm

at The Agricultural Centre, Adderley Road, Market Drayton TF9 3SW

Your speaker will be David Handley, Chairman of FFA so it will surely be a very informative and
animated evening.

Non members also welcome, so bring along a car load and share your views on the way forward
in the current turmoil within our industry. The restaurant will be open to serve light refreshments.

NB Hope you have all signed up to our epetition http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68900

9/9/14 Outcome of FFA'S complaint to Press Complaints Commission re Daily Mail article.

Received from  the PCC   today

 "The newspaper has revised its proposed clarification to include concerns which have been raised by others about bleached flour in the UK. The new proposed wording is as follows:"

A book serialisation of The Tiredness Cure by Dr Sohere Roked on September 1 said that hormones and antibiotics injected into dairy cattle can pass into retail milk, that there is a legal limit for the number of pus cells it may contain, and that most flour is ‘bleached’. We are happy to clarify that it is illegal to use hormones to stimulate milk production in the UK, that testing prevents antibiotics from passing into retail milk, and that the limit relates to all somatic cells. Flour is no longer bleached in the UK.

"It has also offered to remove the article from the newspaper’s website.

An additional benefit of resolving your complaint is that a summary of it – with a wording agreed by you – will be published prominently on the Commission’s website. This will act, importantly, as a public record of your concerns and the remedial action subsequently taken."

This will be published on Page 2 of the newspaper tomorrow 10/9/14.  This has been a very tedious process with the Daily Mail and we felt this was best wound up now or nothing was going to be achieved.

Below is our comprehensive response to the Press Complaints Commission regarding the Daily Mail's original 'clarification' to Dr Roker's article which was not acceptable:-

The Daily Mail ‘clarification’ does not go far enough and after discussing the article with our consultant vet (Rob Drysdale, MRCVS and Director of the largest farm vet practice in the world, working with over 100,000 cows in the UK and also farms from Estonia to Indonesia in terms of milk quality, dairy cow and calf health), below is our response. We have very many members of our organisation who are readers of the Daily Mail and who were incensed by the article. We trust that this response will be given the appropriate apology given the seriousness of the issue.

1. This was written by a doctor - the BMA should be asked to review why one of their own certified GPs is allowed to publish something so factually inaccurate? If a vet did this then the RCVS could be complained to and they could then intervene. I think this is one point that should be made in the apology that this "Doctor" got it so wrong: also section on "meat" in the article is wrong too!
2. The apology should state that the farming industry in the UK is closely regulated by multiple bodies - starting at the farm vet, working through the ministry (DEFRA) and farm assurance bodies attached to both the milk processor (ensuring safe milk production as well as ensuring best welfare for the cows, youngstock and calves on the farms) and the retailers selling British milk: the "red tractor" is the minimum standard whilst higher levels such as RSPCA Freedom Foods or Organic Standards operate on UK farms.
3. The apology should state that the "hormone" mentioned are illegal in the EU, and most of the developed world - this is a practice that the UK farmers would not condone.
4. The apology should state that "antibiotic" usage in the UK is closely regulated by the vets overseeing the farm animals health under their care - these are prescription only medicines after all - and the milk buyers. Every batch of milk is tested for any potential residues to often well below the EU minimum level specified to ensure no residues.
5. Farmers know that health animals produce healthy milk - why would they milk them "constantly" and encourage disease? This is still misleading and needs addressed in the apology too: it should be stated that not only are hormones not used in British milk also that health parameters are monitored consistently on the farms by the vets working with the UK dairy farmers to avoid disease.
6. "Pus cells" in milk is again something a GP should be aware of is factually inaccurate: we have not only a maximum, safe level for cells in any milk sold in Britain and the EU but also this cell count is not pus cells. As a health professional this is probably as inaccurate a statement as the one on hormone: somatic cells in milk sold are rarely pus since pus cells = specific types of white blood cells from the blood fighting/dead after fighting infection. In healthy milk the SCC comes from healthy cells, udder secreting cells and other normal cells that would also be found in sheep, goats and even human milk!


Time for reflection

When FFA was formed way back in 2000 by a group of ruddy faced farmers, little did anyone even consider that 14 years later, we would still be here.

Faces have changed but we are still fighting the same battles, have witnessed some terrible lows, ie BSE, Foot and Mouth and of course TB still affecting many of us. Costs have massively increased, regulations and restrictions have weighed us down.

How on earth have so many survived this. Pure grit and determination, the passion for their particular sector, the countryside or many simply don’t really have a choice but to dig deep due to capital investment, tenancies etc., and have gone out and got outside work to supplement farm income. These are the people who need our help and support. Who wants to see the small and medium sized family farms swallowed up by either our own industry, new housing, golf courses or property developers. By being part of FFA our members at least have the comfort of knowing that they are not alone in their worries.

In these 14 years we have been kicked and stamped upon by the ‘establishment’, but have always soaked it up like a sponge and bounced back. We have been used when useful and then discarded like an empty sweet wrapper. Awards have been received and bestowed upon us and occasionally we have been credited with playing a significant part in some particular successful campaign.

Our Survival has been down to our loyal members and a few very generous sponsors, together with a handful of dedicated people, our co-ordinators. These people keep the wheels turning. We have no fancy PR people, state of the art communication systems or free gifts to give away.

This is bare bones campaigning. We have tried and failed many times but have always given 100%, so 14 years on what does the future hold for Farmers For Action?
That is not up to us, it is for you to decide, we know who is with us but is that enough.


Well as predicted milk prices came crashing down thanks to none other than the infamous farmer owned co-op, First Milk by a whooping 3ppl. The word on
the street is that they haven't finished yet, so where oh where is the statement from either the Chairman or even the more anonymous, Chief Executive, to explain
to everybody in the dairy industry who gets affected by this dramatic drop.

Meadow Foods also joined in this week, with a 1.9ppl drop with the same old excuse as the rest, global markets and Russia. Yet when we last met with Meadow Foods
some time ago we were being told a lot of our products are on long term contracts which is why we can’t submit to the Code of Practice.’

Still no answers from processors or retailers as to why the UK is taking such dramatic price drops when we are importing 40% of some dairy products we consume and
80% of what we produce is used within this country. Surely now the whole of the dairy industry on the producer side need to get together and demand, not ask, for answers.

Where is all this money going? Most dairy farmers now will have had 5ppl wiped off their standard litre price, even the very clever must now be starting to get concerned,
although one clever large scale Scottish producer informs us it will be ok in 15 months time, when the little ones have gone, here will be a bonanza for the big boys who are left.

Our first open meeting to discuss the crisis takes this week at Frome Market. I do hope as many from the South West will try and attend and share their views
on what we do next. Without dairy farmers’support, which has been said over and over again, action will not work, so it is up to you. Further meeting will be
held over the country during the next few weeks.


25TH anniversary this year of probably the best dairy conference in the UK and I am honoured to be asked to speak.




Frome Market
BA11 2QB

7.30pm for 8 pm

FFA welcome all our South West members to our Dairy Crisis Meeting at Frome Auction Centre Restaurant
on Thursday 11 September 2014 7.30pm for 8.00 pm

Your speaker will be David Handley, Chairman of FFA so it will surely be a very informative and
animated evening.

Non members also welcome, so bring along a car load and share your views on the way forward
in the current turmoil within our industry. The restaurant will be open to serve light refreshments.

Follow the signs to Frome Market and Standerwick Market from the A36 and A361


In view of milk prices crashing around us, what can producers do to help themselves? Join FFA where you will find you are not alone in your total dispair at what is happening. It is no good just sitting back, typing YES in response to our Protest Survey, and taking it on the chin, hoping that somebody else will sort it out, it won't happen. Yes, we can get things done but we can' t do it alone and need your support.

We have been inundated with producers replying YES to our survey but many of you are not members. We are not just about standing outside milk plants in the middle of the night. Whilst this is the image that is generally portrayed, there is much more to FFA than this.

FFA's small, dedicated team negotiate before and after these events, with the people who basically threaten our livelihoods.
So let your conscience be pricked, please join or renew


Still need more signatures on this petition if only to keep this crisis to the fore
Get your family, neighbours, friends to sign it takes a minute or so.  Thank you.


Just a short update on the totally false accusations made by Dr Sohere Roker's in yesterday's Daily Mail.  As our members and followers on Facebook and Twitter will know we lodged a complaint yesterday with the Press Complaints Commission under Clause 1 - Inaccuracy.  Anyone is entitled to lodge a complaint here is the link

30/8/14  Daily Mail Article by Dr Sohere Rokee - FFA have lodged a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission.

29/8/14  MILK PRICES

As predicated in our e mail sent out to all members last week, prices have fallen dramatically this week, with the announcement from Muller Wiseman of 1.8ppl, with the announcement to be made shortly by Dairy Crest their price expected to be just short of Muller and a predicted price drop by First Milk which will surely be in excess of 1.5ppl.  If we as dairy farmers do not stand up and do something to stop this decrease continuing, we cannot see how british dairying can progress forward.  People will say you cannot buck global milk prices, we remind everyone over 80% of milk produced in this country is used domestically.  Therefore we should not be subject to these severe price cuts.  We are getting hints from processors that these cuts are being instigated  by their retail
customers.  This is unacceptable when if you go into any store you will see the prices of butter, cheese, liquid milk are still where they were 3 months ago,.  Profiteering or not? 


While any help to stop further decreases in future farmgate milk prices are welcome,  the latest support measure to come from the EU Commission in FFA's opinion falls very short in dealing with the issues.  The proposal by the Commission is to provide storage of dairy products, cheese, butter, smp,  for a period of 3/7 months.  Stock piling or storage achieves nothing because at some point that product has to come onto the market.  Our fear is if it runs its full course and comes out in 7 months time that will be bang on the start of a new milk year and this is likely to depress prices going into 2015. 

Farmers For Action has put forward a plan to the UK government (this is in the form of an e-petition
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68900 which we need everyone to sign.  The suggestion being made is that the government buys up the current stock levels and utilises CAP money to distribute that to the needy and there are plenty of those around worldwide.  This would be a win win situation for everyone as it takes stock out of the market, its feeds people who desperately need it and certainly in the UK it surely would give the government a boost in an up and coming election year.  Remember, stock piling depresses prices and prevents rapid recovery in the market place as history clearly shows.  Lets not make the same mistake again.

Mr Ciolos, Agricultural and Rural Development Commissioner at the EU needs to go back and look at the emergency measures.  Farmers For Action are always willing to come along and talk and give guidance, as others appear incapable of doing that,  should they welcome these emergency support measures.


Our e-petition is now on line

Our e-petition is now on line at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68900

Our last e-petition in 2012 regarding milk pricing achieved over 28,000 signatures!
Please sign and forward to keep this crisis to the fore.

27/8/14  Government e-petition

FFA have originated an e-petition.  Once this has been approved, we will publish link may take up to 7 days.
Text of Petition is as follows:-


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Our Government's decision on Russia means British dairy farmers are about to face a catastrophic collapse in milk prices.
Stocks of cheese and butter have dramatically increased.
Farmers For Action www.farmersforaction.org suggest the Government should distribute the product to the needy through food banks.
Logistically this could be done; all it needs is a 'can do' attitude by those in a position to help.
With winter around the corner, we are sure that those less fortunate than ourselves would appreciate a plentiful supply of cheese and milk throughout the coming winter months to help feed themselves and their families.
Nutritionally, milk has been defined as the most nearly perfect food and provides more essential nutrients in significant amounts than any other single food. Why leave it in storage when it could make so many lives that little bit more bearable, and help the British dairy industry through this difficult time.

24/8/14 Interview with FFA Chairman in Independent on Sunday


Next week could be very gloomy times for UK dairy farmers. We expect prices to fall by as much as 2ppl for October milk. This will be blamed on global markets,
falls in powder prices, cream prices etc., etc.,


(New Zealand have to export 80% of their production)
(United Kingdom 80% of production used domestically)

Why, oh why are UK prices falling based on global markets?

Since FFA’s formation we have seen every excuse from blame the retailer, to now  blame the global market. In our view there is only one sector to blame and that is dairy farmers. We need to stand up and stop the decline in our milk prices unless you all feel as dairy farmers you can produce milk 365 days a year at prices below 25p because believe us that is where we are heading and we will be brave enough to predict that by December, we will see at least another 3p off milk prices if we do not do anything. According to our calculations feed prices would have to fall £100 per ton minimum for us go  through the winter producing milk at these prices. sure you will all accept that is not going to happen.

Dialogue is continuing on a daily basis with a war of words but is not stopping processors cutting the prices, month in, month out. Therefore, whether you agree with it or not there has to be some form of direct peaceful action to let both retailers, processors and government know that UK milk producers are not going to accept prices below 2011. It is unsustainable even for the top 25% if they are honest, to continue producing milk 365 a days a year at these prices.


We would like producers and all other interested parties to contact us with either a yes or no support for direct action and we emphasise to anyone who is worried these protests will be totally controlled and peaceful, working with the Police at all times. That is how we have won in the past and that is how we will win going forward. It is up to you to decide the future of British dairying. Do nothing, and the future for young dairy farmers looks grim, do something and we can secure their future going forward. Please respond - no response FFA will assume that everything in the parlour is ok.

e mail secretary@farmersforaction.org Text 07511 932076 with name, area/postcode and Yes or No

If you wish to join FFA or simply renew your membership please follow these links JOIN   RENEW


2012  Deductions, deductions......
2013  Deductions, deductions......
2014 Low moisture - good bushel weights - No premiums being paid! - grain merchants need to explain themselves!

Why is this happening, grain farmers have worked so hard in 2014 to achieve what the market requires at great cost, their reward - prices below cost of production.  This is not sustainable, yet   all others in the supply chain maintain their margins.

Grain, dairy, beef, pigs - all suffering  low prices.  Farmers need to come together and stop this rot once and for all.

 We must all act now to protect our livelihoods, nobody else will do it for us!


Saturday 28 June 2014 from 8 pm
Dancing to ‘The Old Gits’
(60’s music onwards)
S032 3NQ
By kind permission of the Venn family
Supper provided by Westlands Farm
Licensed Bar – Raffle
Tickets £15 including BBQ

Tickets available from:-
Bruce Horn Tel 01489 877365 or 07966 674846
Julie Helen - e mail Julie.helen@sparsholt.ac.uk
Sally Silvester Tel 02392 632549 or 07754 518298
Proceeds from the event will be divided between
Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Reg Charity No 208858)
& Farmers For Action ( FFA)

What a great way to spend a summer evening, do come along and support the great charity that is RABI and also show your support for Farmers For Action.


We are again this year attending the event, stand No BM167, do come along and meet us and show your support.


FFA to launch major  campaign against falling beef prices

FFA Chairman, David Handley, stated "we can no longer sit back and watch beef prices collapse in the way they are".

 With the threat of a further Latin American deal in the offing, something has to be done to protect British beef farmers.  This is a massive economic part of our industry.  For several weeks now we have monitored both labeling of meat products and also carried our surveillance  at a number of meat processing plants.  The information gathered has led the FFA's committee to come to the decision - action has to be taken immediately!

We will continue to update the web site on this issue.


Ex NFU president, Tim Bennett has put his foot in it yet again.   This time in his role as Chairman of Food Standards Agency he turns on his own kind.  Hard working british farmers according to the FSA, are responsible for large numbers of people suffering from food poisoning.  When will Mr Bennett  realise farmers are the backbone of this country, they provide the one thing people need every day and that is food.  So please Mr Bennett, better to say nothing and keep your respect within the  farming community.


This morning in a press statement from Arla and we quote "Arlagarden will compliment Red Tractor not replace it".

Well, talk about a U Turn, well done to everybody for applying the pressure but Arla beware we will watch every move.  If you attempt to replace our Farm Assurance Scheme do so at your peril.

But FFA do feel sorry for Arla producers who will now have to comply with both farm assurance schemes but then with all your price increases I am sure your wallets will be big enough to cope (that comment of course in jest!)

First Milk

We understand farmer co-operative, First Milk, are to announce a new chairman and a number of farmer directors on Monday of next week.  FFA wonders whether this will be the genie in the lamp that starts to increase milk prices for its hardworking farmer members (the jury is out). 

8/8/13Red Tractor

In the last 24 hours FFA representatives have spoken to a number of organisations with regard to Arla's attempt to remove the Red Tractor logo from their business.  Most people that had been spoken to found this totally unacceptable and are committed to working with FFA to stop this from happening.  FFA will be calling on farmers over the coming weeks to sign a petition that they do not accept the removal of the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme from any processor in any sector of our industry.  We also will be contacting all retailers including Sainsburys, who have already removed the Red Tractor,   delivering a very strong message - try to destroy our heavily invested farm assurance scheme at your own peril as we intend to tell your customers the reasons you should not be allowed to remove Red Tractor.  To Asda, one of the largest retailers we say you need to persuade Arla your dedicated milk supplier to rethink their strategy going forward otherwise your customers will also see farmer representatives outside their shops very quickly.

7/8/13 Red Tractor Update

Last night's meeting at Flagg in Derbyshire sent a very strong message to Michael Madders, chair of Red Tractor and Robert Newbury, senior dairy adviser NFU. that  farmers are not prepared to see the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme demolished by Danish farmer owned company, Arla.  It is now up to farmers in all sectors to get behind a campaign to stop Arla or any other retailer or processor from exiting the Red Tractor Scheme which consumers throughout the land are now beginning to accept and certainly since the horse meat scandal that Red Tractor means they can buy the product with confidence that it is being produced to the highest standards.  David Handley, chair of FFA, has in the last 24 hours spoken with 2 CEOs of major processing plants and they have told him in no uncertain terms that Red Tractor must be protected at all costs as it enables them to sell great british products globally.  We will continue to update the website as to how the campaign is progressing and how you, the british farmer can assist.  We are hoping that all british farmer representative bodies will get behind this campaign and send a clear message Red Tractor is here to stay.

6/8/13 Meeting Derbyshire

Tonight there is a very important meeting being held at Flagg Village Hall,Flagg Village, Nr Buxton,  SK17 9QR for dairy farmers.  As many of you will be aware, milk processing company Arla are trying to ditch the Red Tractor in favour of their own farm assurance scheme.  At tonight's meeting organised by Derbyshire NFU, speaker Rob Newbury (Head of Dairy). Also present will be Michael Madders (Chairman of Red Tractor).  You need to be there to let your voice be heard at your disgust that anyone should be considering allowing Arla to exist Red Tractor because:-                                                                                                     

1 dairy farmers have invested heavily in Red Tractor over the years                                                                                                                                                                                                2 If Arla are allowed to come out of the Red Tractor certification it means they are then eligible to import liquid milk into the UK  This cannot be good for the future of the UK dairy industry

Please go along and let Mr Madders and Mr Newbury know that you are not prepared to accept this.  It is FFA's intention to spread the word across the whole of the UK.  If Arla Denmark wants to establish its business in the UK, it works under our terms not theirs FFA also intend to launch a campaign with consumers telling them exactly what Arla are up to.  Consumers are just getting confident in using the Red Tractor logo when doing their shopping and all of a sudden a European company is going to take that away.  Absolutely crazy, has to be stopped.


There will be an FFA meeting at Market Drayton Livestock Market on Thursday 16 May commencing 7.30 pm.

All are welcome.