18/11/14

UPDATE


Last week's protests at Muller Wiseman went ahead and again were totally peaceful and gave  farmers the opportunity to show their anger with regard to current milk prices.  For these protests to continue and above all to be successful, we really do need more farmer support.  We are only asking you to give up a short amount of your time to attend a protest because the size of the crowd makes a huge difference and for those who have not attended before, you will find most of the evening is very entertaining and you also can learn a lot by talking to your fellow farmers, plus many friends do get made on the picket line.  So next time you hear of a protest, if you don't wish to stay for the full term at least come along and see how these protests are conducted.  You might be very surprised that  FFA are not the militant organisation some would like you to believe.  Further protests will go head later this week and their details will be announced within the next 24 hours.  Become a member and you get to know first hand otherwise.

Committee Meeting

FFA held its monthly committee meeting on Sunday evening at Newbury.  It was very well attended by co-ordinators from all over the country with some travelling up to 4 hours.  Now that is commitment!  It was also good to see four new comittee members, all under the age of 35.  We intend to extend this invitation to the younger generation, after all it is their future we are fighting for, so if you fit into that category contact the office with your details  or your local FFA co-ordinator if you would like to be part of FFA and contribute to getting sustainable prices for our marvellous farming industry.  You would be made very welcome.

Clothing

Over recent weeks we have again started to supply both baseball caps and stickers at the request of many membes.  We now plan to extend this range of clothing with the FFA logo.  This service is going to be operated by one of our new young members, Tina Williams from Herefordshire.  Her details and how to order a range of clothing will be put up on the web site in the next couple of weeks as we have to get some admin in place first.  In the meantime, for baseball caps and stickers please continue to contact the office  secretary@farmersforaction.org  with your requirements. 

Semex Conference 11/13 January 2015

If you have not got your ticket for the first day of the Semex Conference, its 25th anniversary, get an order in quickly as our Chairman, David Handley, is the first speaker on the first day.  This is surely going to be a lively and raucous affair.

Government

At last politicians   seem to be taking the current dairy crisis very seriously.  A Select Committee has called a meeting for November 25th to get an overview of the serious situation we as dairy farmers are now facing.  FFA has been asked to put forward a representative to give evidence at the enquiry , so Chairman David Handley will be in attendance to give evidence of the situation in our industry faced by working dairy farmers every day of the week.  If you have any views as a member between now and that date please forward via e mail to the office.  Please do not phone in as David's little brain would not be able to cope.  Thank you.

Cutting back on milk may make you tired and confused!

Well The Daily Mail have taken notice. After we took them to the PCC over their article on dairy back in August, when they were forced to issue an apology for printing incorrect information, they have taken a complete U turn in their  full page article today - tired and confused? Cutting back on milk may be to blame as milk and dairy products are main source of iodine in UK whilst organic milk has around 40% less iodine. Iodine deficiency causes low IQ, fatigue,miscarriage and thyroid problems.
Hurrah at last.


10/11/14 FFA MEETINGS

Tues 11 November

SOUTH WEST


MEET AT SEDGEMOOR AUCTION MART, JUNC 24, M5

AT 8 PM

RING JAMES HOLE 07971254652 OR DAVID HANDLEY 07711194947

MIDLANDS

MEET MARKET DRAYTON MART TF93SW

AT 8 9M

RING TOM HOUGHTON 07540704887 OR PAUL ROWBOTTOM 07973188279




LATEST UPDATES FROM FFA week ending Friday 31/10/14

The week started well with more news that two other dairy processors were freezing the milk price. Unfortunately, the sting in the tail was the announcement by First Milk, Arla Direct and Wyke Cheese of price reductions.

First of all lets deal with the price freeze by Muller, Arla Member and Dairy Crest plus a number of other smaller milk processors. I think this clearly vindicates our farmer/producer  protests. I am positive that without these there would have been no price freeze from the above. You may ask why? FFA have said from day one that these milk price cuts that have been so severe are attributed to one thing and one thing only, that the processors have the power to cut their price whenever it suits. The global market, which is being blamed for the price cuts, is still as weak as it was three months ago, so why no further price cuts from these named processors? simply because they have chosen not to and why, because
some farmers were prepared to stand up and fight. That fight is not over yet by a long way

FFA said at the beginning of the milk campaign the first phase was to hold price drops, the second phase which we now enter is to recover some of the money that has disappeared within the supply chain. Is that going to mean further protests, definitely but we are also going to have to communicate with the consumer in the form of a leaflet drop at supermarkets explaining why dairy farmers have had to resort to this action. These leaflets are currently being produced and within the next few days the call to mobilise the troops to deliver the leaflets will be made. These will be handed out in conjunction with striking wristbands in black and white.

Arla price cut to directs - following two very distressing phone calls that FFA received last week regarding these cuts and the effect it would have on individual businesses, chairman David Handley contacted Jonathan Ovens of Arla to basically ask if these price cuts could be revoked or at least allow these directs to become members of Arla. Mr Ovens initially was quite upbeat about this idea but within hours this attitude changed and the reply was loud and clear, Arla were going to do nothing. So much for compassion in a so called farmer owned business towards it fellow farmers, whose milk it continues to take at such a low price to prop up its farmer members, quite disgusting in this day and age. A small caveat to the above - Mr Ovens did offer to go and see the two individual distressed farmers but it was decided by FFA with the help of third parties that we could deal with their situations.

First milk cut - amazing to find that a so called farmer owned business supposedly run by practicing dairy farmers can cut to a price that is unsustainable to dairy farmers within this business, but many of those on the board are probably on a Nestle contract which delivers a far higher milk price. It is time that Sir Jim Paice came out and told the truth with regard to First Milk. This slow death being imposed on its dairy farmer members cannot be allowed to continue and we call on every industry representative to apply pressure to First Milk's management to open its books and let us all see how much longer First Milk will be with us.

Last week's protests - First protest at Adams Foods was an amazing success in terms of the number of farmers who supported. Over 400 turned up in atrocious weather to make their feelings felt. The outcome of this protest was a telephone conversation between David Handley and current CEO of Adams Foods, the infamous ex Milk Link, Neil Kennedy. All points with regarding to Irish products were discussed and also the issue of country of origin labelling on Pilgrims Cheese. Anyone who has bought this product will be able to see it carries a multitude of countries of original, something that FFA feels has to end. Mr Kennedy took all these points on board and we will give him some time to see if he makes any changes. I very much doubt if they will and therefore farmers may well need to return to the site at Leek, but we will keep you updated.

On Thursday night we moved to Middlewich in Cheshire where the target was our old friends, Morrisons. Why you may ask. At the first protest of our campaign at Morrisons DC in Bridgewater, Somerset an open letter was handed and also displayed on FFA's website to the CEO Dalton Phillips. Up until last Thursday there has been no communication to reply to the issues raise in that document. Therefore we felt a further visit to Middlewich was necessary. The agreement made at that protest through their Logistics Director was the following day he would make sure that senior management would get the message delivered from the previous nights protest and he hoped that someone would respond, to date there has been no response from Morrisons at any level. Therefore plans are afoot to revisit a number of their DCs combined with visits to the supermarket stores to tell their customers how they are currently treating UK dairy farmers. It clearly shows to FFA that these retailers don't give a damn about farming families producing their dairy products. Yet again this company excels in the way it treats its red meat suppliers why cannot they do the same for dairy.

Debate in House of Commons

Today there is a debate in Westminster Hall called by Simon Hart MP Carmarthen West and South Pembroke, who has been allocated 90 minutes to debate our industry. I am sure Mr Hart will put forward a very strong case for UK dairy as his consticency probably has the biggest number of dairy cows anywhere in the country. We await the results of this debate with bated breath.

We are still awaiting the Minutes of our meeting in Westminster which were promised but as I have stated before the wheels of politics move very slowly. We will be contacting the chairman of that group Neil Parish MP to ask again when we are going to see these Minutes.

For further protests and leaflet distribution we will be contacting you all in the usual way as soon as we have secured the plan going forward. Please be patient I know for some of you it is quite frustrating but we have to make sure what we do has an impact to get us all as sustainable milk price. Again to all those who support us a very big thank you, please keep coming out. We need the numbers - they do give us impact.

And finally we all owe a huge vote of thanks to our FFA co-ordinators who organise these protests and make sure that they are peaceful and run within Police guidelines.








27/10/14  - MILK CRISIS UPDATE

Chairman's Report  (David Handley) -
Dairy Crisis Meeting at Westminster

This  meeting appeared to go  extremely well from an FFA perspective.  I believe  we got the message across loud and clear that there is something that can be done about the situation British dairy farmers find themselves in.  A number of suggestions were put forward to MPs of which I do believe were fully understood.   We expect a copy of the minutes of this meeting in the near future,which  will be circulated to members.  This group intends to meet again in early February 2015.  The wheels of politics move slowly.

Second part of the week went extremely well for all milk producers as Arla announced a price freeze.  It is now going to be very interesting  to see what other processors do following Arla's decision.  We intend to watch this space very carefully but do issue a word of caution, as a result of a comment made at a recent FFA meeting by an east midlands Arla representative, who disclosed to FFA co-ordinator, Paul Rowbottom, there was a further 1.6p cut in Arla's mind.  I have contacted Arla who assure me that decision has not even been discussed.  Again watch this space. 

MILK CRISIS MEETING

Tuesday 28 October at 8 pm Leek Cattle Market,  Leek, Staffs ST13 5PY
Contact Paul Rowbottom 07973188279,  Tom Houghton 07540704887, David Handley 07711194947.
PLEASE ATTEND IF YOU CAN, THIS WILL BE A MEETING WITH A DIFFERENCE.

25/10/14  The milk protest at Bridgewater on 8 October 2014 will be featured on Countryfile Sunday evening 26 October 2014.

21/10/14

ICELAND

A meeting was held with Iceland yesterday, report has been sent to FFA members.

ALL PARLIAMENTARY BRIEFING ON MILK PRICES AT HOUSE OF COMMONS

This week DH will attend a meeting with MPs and other organisations on Wednesday 22 in the House of Commons where he will put our
members case very strongly as to the problems facing the dairy industry. A report of this meeting will be posted later in the week.

FURTHER PROTESTS

Further protests on falling milk prices and the devaluing of our products will recommence once the above meeting has been held.

Phase 1 of our campaign was to stop any further milk price cuts, we were confident if farmers stood up to be counted this was achievable,

We now give you all a glimmer of hope, Arla have announced to me there will be no price cut for November.

Well done to everybody who supported the protests, it is only a small step but we are winning the battle. If all other organisations had got
behind this campaign I am confident we would actually be seeing money coming back to hardworking dairy farmers.
Thank you ALL who have supported, without you nothing could have been achieved.


17/10/14

Last night's FFA meeting at Penrith Auction Mart, c
haired by  Lord Inglewood of Hutton in the Forest, an ex MEP, who himself runs  a dairy herd of 180 holsteins,  attracted well over 550 producers, ancilliary businesses, farm staff, vets, feed companies, accountants etc who travelled from Scotland and all over the North of England.    Follow the link here to Farmers Guardian's video and report

Also running parallel to the Penrith meeting a very successful protest was held at Iceland DC in Warrington with well over 150 taking part.  A meeting is taking place with Iceland next week.   Go to Twitter for photos
 

FFA Milk Protest

On Thursday 16 October

Meet at 7.45 prompt

At Lymm Truck Stop WA13 0SP, junction 20 off M6.

Contact
Tom Houghton 07540 704887
Paul Rowbottom 07973 188279

13/10/14

THIS WEEKS PROTESTS

A number of people have been enquiring as to why the three chosen sites this week?  Reasons as follows:-

Direct farmgate milk price cuts
Displacing British cheese for cheap imports
Devaluing our wonderful dairy products
Devaluing our product both in national newspapers and TV ads.

We hope the above justifies our actions this week.

PRICING UPDATE

Things are now moving apace, miraculously we are now receiving phone calls from milk processors who tell us maybe prices will stop falling, retailers crawling out of the woodwork claiming not to have taken any farmers' money and so on and so on.  That should not be a surprise to anyone. For the last 15 years this has been the normal responses from the guilty parties as soon as farmers start to put the pressure on.

We need to keep it up and we need to intensify the protests, if we are to stop any further price cuts and start to get farmgate prices up as fast as they went down. No matter what your view on protesting this surely must get everybody at the protest sites. 

Examples of what has been done in the last 10 days by our so called friends, the British  retailer:- insulting adverts on TV cheapening the value of your hard earned British milk, displacing British cheese off the shelves replacing with cheaper European product, cheapskate adverts in national newspapers. 
One retailer removes 2,500 tonnes of British quality cheese for Irish, pressure being put on milk price tenders to get them even lower for a failing retailer and quotes by one milk processor of a £55m loss, no mention of the £35m trading profit, no mentions of all the acquisitions that have been made in one financial year.  Clever accountancy? We need to make a stand to get sustainable milk prices, no one else is going to do it. 

Nutritionally, milk has been defined as "the most nearly perfect food". It provides more essential nutrients in significant amounts than any other single food.  We think it is about time the government got involved in this crisis for everyone's sakes.

12/10/14 DAIRY PROTESTS Derbyshire and Hampshire

MONDAY 13 OCTOBER 2014 - DERBYSHIRE

MEET AT DAIRY CREST, FOSTON DE65 5BZ AT 8 PM

Contact Tom Houghton 07540704887 Paul Rowbottom 07973188279



TUESDAY 14 OCTOBER 2014 – HAMPSHIRE


MEET CO-OPERATIVE DC, 155 WEYHILL ROAD, ANDOVER, HANTS AT 8 PM
(sorry no post code but map attached)

Contact Bruce Horn 07966674846 or John Lillywhite 07540745808 (SE) or James Hole 07971254652 (SW)

10/10/14

DAIRY CRISIS MEETING 16/10/14  7.30pm 
Penrith, Cumbrian
Speakers Lord Inglewood and David Handley FFA


9/10/14
PROTEST AT MORRISONS, BRIDGEWATER

Well done to everyone who supported last night. James and his team for the excellent organisation. We had well over 500 people there, two foragers tens of tractors all doing a grand job.  To those who donated money from the ancillary industries to feed and keep us warm a big thank you. Shame on the  others didn't follow your lead as the dairy industry plays a large part in their businesses and it is about time they gave a little back into the industry that supports them.


Also have to say a big thank you to all the media who were present last night for helping us get the message out to British consumers as to what is actually going on in the dairy industry. The great British public has once again shown that it is fully supports the country's farmers and are continually asking, why should I buy my milk? I want to be sure the producer is getting the best possible price. A revised consumer page will be added to this web site shortly but we say to you check the label, try and buy local, or doorstep from a local dairy and don't be afraid to ask where the milk is coming from.

Further protests are planned for the coming week, members and press will be notified. Further bulletins tomorrow.

You will notice that Toby Wilson, (Breeze and Wilson), has recorded another smashing  dairy anthem for us, so start practicing your line dance and next time the tv cameras are around let them have it!

8/10/14

2nd Milk Protest Somerset tonight, West Wales guys and gals taking a coach trip
to support, hog roast to keep you all sustained throughout the evening.

Our series of Dairy Crisis Meetings have proved very successful in Market Drayton, Frome and Carmarthen. We now move on to Penrith in Cumbria in next week or so Venue will be Penrith Auction Mart date and time to be advised next few days


7/10/14

Chairman's Report on last night at Market Drayton

The first peaceful protest went extremely well and I think all who took part deserve a pat on the back for the way they behaved and presented themselves to the multitude of media present covering the issues.  This campaign is all about telling consumers, the government and all who play a part in our milk supply chain, things are not right.  Last night's protest at Muller was only the first of our campaign.  Muller has not been selected out in being the bad guy in all this he is just one processor in the supply chain.  We move on to our next target in Somerset on Wednesday evening, again to deliver the same message and I emphiase  despite the area,  this is not Muller Wiseman.  All processors and retailers who currently extract money are targets within our campaign to get the message across.   UK dairy although not exempt from global issues, should not be sustaining the milk price cuts it currently is.  Please come and support, and tell your story to the media who are supporting this campaign.  Stay home and say nothing unfortunately means you will get nothing. 

We also offer a warm welcome to consumers, come along and chat to the producers and  their families and see how these cuts are affecting them.


On a last note and we cannot resist this one, we have to tell everyone as Chairman my mode of transport is a Ford Thunder pick up truck not the latest  Lynx helicopter or
Gulfstream G550 corporate jet
although FFA commitee tell me if they can raise the funds they want me to have an Appache attack helicopter, could be fun for everyone.  See you all Wednesday night.

Market Drayton Protest last night

Wonderful response last night, well over 500 attended.  Plenty of media coverage.  Was a very long night for some who didnt return home until well into the early hours of this morning to catch a few hours sleep before starting milking.  Twitter and Facebook was inundated with good will from consumers, who were all asking where can they buy there milk from that pays the producer a decent price.  They are quite happy to pay that little bit more to support the UK dairy industry and small/medium sized producers.  Will be reintroducing a new consumer page shortly to help them through what is a minefield of milk pricing.

Thank you everyone.

On a lighter note the prize for the most bizarre  radio debate (albeit very short) has to go to The Jeremy Vine Show yesterday lunchtime with David Handley and  the very strange  Jeremy Baker (
affiliate professor of Entrepreneurship, Marketing and International business at ESCP Europe London campus!!)  whose  claim to fame, of many,  was advising Avon Cosmetics on their PR.  He went on to educate us on everything that was wrong in our industry and did'nt know that the NFU still existed! Classic.


6/10/14

The second milk price protest of the week takes place
in Somerset on Wednesday 8 October 2014.

Meet at
Sedgemoor Auction Centre
North Petherton
Bridgwater
Somerset
TA6 6DF
at 8 pm Contact James Hole 07971254652

IMPORTANT – PLEASE DO NOT BLOCK THE ENTRANCE TO THE LORRY PARK.

All those taking tractors and equipment please phone James 07971254652 beforehand for relevant info.

Thank you


5/10/14

MILK PROTEST
  is to take place on Monday 6/10/14 at Market Drayton in Shropshire. Please all meet at Market Drayton Livestock Centre at 8 pm. 
Contact Tom Houghton
07540704887   Paul Rowbottom 07973188279

29/9/14

MILK PRICE UPDATE

It does appear that our  comments with regard to Wyke the milk processor has ruffled some feathers.  Unnfortunately it was suggested they may be weak sellers, perhaps we  were wrong.  Just think the problem is they are little fish in a very big pond and  the likes of the multiple retailer and the Irish Dairy Board have got bigger flippers in this big pond. but you see when you keep getting excuse after excuse to drop the farmgate milk price, sometimes we may reach the wrong conclusion.  If we had transparency within this industry which after all is a supply chain, we may well sort out the ongoing problem. 

But we fear having just listened to another excuse in the last 24 hours which goes something like this:-

We are paying too much money to farmers who are oversupplying the market which means we cannot manufacture all the raw material into product therefore we are forced to sell it on the spot price for as low as 20p.  FFA's question was if this is the case, then why oh why are you paying farmers volume bonus incentives if you can't handle the milk?  Again maybe someone in the dairy industry would like to give us the answer.  It may not be a milk processor but more likely to be the very organisation we pay for as dairy farmers, non other than Dairy Co, who according to their new chairman, should be working for farmers.  Will these  comments  get the red phone  hot? 


28/9/14

MILK PRICE CUTS

As predicted the cuts keep coming, getting more severe each time with more and more excuses
95% of them not even justified, but  if farmers keep accepting them,  then who can blame the buyers  for taking the money.  The biggest cut so far, not yet made public is Muller Wiseman with a massive
1.9ppl due to appear to its producers sometime next week.  Muller apparently are very aggrieved that Farmers For Action got this information so early and are accusing their Farmer Board for the leak.
We can assure any individual that looks at this web site Muller has staff that have morals! No need to say any more. 

Wyke cheese again 1.5ppl being blamed on weak markets.  FFA says loud and clear, weak selling.

Further cuts are expected from First Milk, Dairy Crest and virtually every other milk processor
and on the back of this the NFU both England and Scotland still continue to tell dairy farmers to produce more milk.  Police forces across the country have been alerted by our friends at Muller that they expect disruption, why are they feeling so guilty that they have to go to the Police.  Do they not
understand dairy producers need a sustainable milk price as well as they do. 

SOUTH WEST DAIRY EVENT

Come along to the above event on Wednesday 1 October, there should be a very interesting debate on the Farmers Guardian/Dairy Farmer stand between NFU, FFA and Arla representatives.  Come and have your say.

PROTEST ACTION

Leave a free date in your calendar for the next 10 days.


25/9/14  New SOS Dairy song

A new SOS dairy song is being created as we speak by Toby Wilson to listen to the original click
here



23/9/14

It does appear my last update has upset some Arla producers.  My comments have been taken out of context as I clearly stated there are 3,000 dairy producers who have
signed an Arla global price contract.  Therefore, there are over 7,000 dairy producers who should not be feeling the full impact of global milk price cuts as 85% of their milk
does not leave the UK.
 
I fully understand Arla farmers’ concerns, many of whom are members of FFA and have all been loyal supporters, but last year we did warn of the volatility of signing a contract
based on a global price.  I am deeply concerned about  what Arla is doing to the UK milk market and if Arla farmers in the UK again,  whose milk
goes through  Arla processing of which  80% of it finishes up on UK retail shelves,  wish to join in the fight to stop further price cuts, we welcome you and I am sure as always you
will continue to support FFA. 
 
I do apologise  if I offended anyone in my previous comment, it was not the intention-

David Handley

19/9/14


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

19/9/14

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.

14/9/14

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!!!!!

12/9/14 

FARMERS FOR ACTION

DAIRY CRISIS MEETING
CARMARTHEN LIVESTOCK CENTRE


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.

11/9/14

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.

FARMERS FOR ACTION

DAIRY CRISIS MEETING
MARKET DRAYTON AUCTION CENTRE
SHROPSHIRE

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!


6/9/14

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.


5/9/14

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.

SEMEX CONFERENCE 2015

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

FARMERS FOR ACTION

DAIRY CRISIS MEETING FROME AUCTION CENTRE SOMERSET

THURSDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2014

Frome Market
Standerwick
Frome
Somerset
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

1/9/14 MILK PRICE CRASHING

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

E-Petition

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.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68900



31/8/14 
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
http://www.pcc.org.uk/complaints/makingacomplaint.html
 

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? 

29/8/14  DAIRY CRISIS

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.

28/8/14

Our e-petition is now on line

E-PETITION "DAIRY FARMERS FACE PRICE COLLAPSE OVER GOVERNMENT'S DECISION ON RUSSIA"
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:-

DAIRY FARMERS FACE PRICE COLLAPSE OVER GOVERNMENT'S DECISION ON RUSSIA

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
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/farmers-in-debt-and-despair-as-dairy-market-collapses-9687838.html

21/8/2014  DAIRY CRISIS LOOMING

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.,

HERE A SCENARIO PUT TO US RECENTLY BY A NEW ZEALAND MILK PROCESSOR


(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.

FEEDBACK

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.

RESPOND NOW PLEASE
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

 
4/8/14 GRAIN MARKETS


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!

BARN DANCE - RAISING FUNDS TO HELP FARMING’S FUTURE

Saturday 28 June 2014 from 8 pm
Dancing to ‘The Old Gits’
(60’s music onwards)
AT
STOCKS LANE FARM
MEONSTOKE
HAMPSHIRE
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.

LIVESTOCK EVENT 2 & 3 July

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

23/5/14

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.


11/9/13 FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY

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.

9/8/13 ANOTHER SUCCESS FOR FFA

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.

9/5/2013

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

All are welcome.