Farmers for Action protests ‘harming’ milk supplier livelihoods, says Arla

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

FFA's latest protests have disrupted the collection and distribution of milk, Arla Foods UK has claimed. Image: Twitter/GShepardAH
FFA's latest protests have disrupted the collection and distribution of milk, Arla Foods UK has claimed. Image: Twitter/GShepardAH

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Farmers for Action (FFA) is “harming” the livelihoods of the suppliers it is campaigning for by disrupting the collection and distribution of milk, a coalition of Arla Foods UK farmer representatives has claimed.

In a joint statement issued yesterday, Arla Foods UK’s farmer board directors, its farmer board of representatives, and its milk partnership farmer board members questioned “the motive”​ of FFA members that protest against farmer-owned businesses such as Arla.

The statement comes just weeks after the FFA, which is demanding an improved standard litre milk price, launched a fresh set of demonstrations against dairy processors.

FFA protesters targeted Muller Wiseman Dairies’ Market Drayton processing facility and Arla Foods UK’s Ashby-de-la-Zouch manufacturing site earlier this month, creating blockades to disrupt the flow of traffic in and out of the sites.

More recently, around 300 FFA protesters converged on Arla UK’s headquarters in Leeds on Sunday 28 July, after negotiations between the two parties collapsed.

According to the FFA, around half of these 300 protesters were Arla UK milk suppliers.

Protests “financially-damaging”

“We question the motive of the farmers who are protesting against a farmer owned business,”​ said the Arla farmer statement. “Their actions are preventing a farmer-owned cooperative from going about its legal, daily, business and from collecting its farmers’ milk, through blocking vehicle movements into and out of the dairies.”

“If Arla is not able to collect a farmers’ milk, potentially, it is harming the livelihoods of these individual farmers because the company is not legally obliged to pay farmers for milk it is unable to collect.”

“In addition, the protesters’ actions are increasing costs at the site which, in turn, is financially damaging a business that is fully farmer owned and whose profits are returned to its farmer owners,”​ said the statement.

The statement added that in-line with Arla UK’s “cooperative principles”​ the company’s standard litre milk price, which stands at 31.91p, is one of the highest “not only in the UK, but in Europe.”

However, Arla UK milk suppliers receive closer to 30 pence per litre following deductions, FFA chairman, David Handley, told DairyReporter.com. This price is far short of current milk production costs, which Handley estimated at between 33 pence and 33.5 pence.

Dairy coop “acting like a PLC”

“We’re being painted as the ‘bad boys’ at the moment, but I can assure you we do not like to protest. It is a last resort for us,”​ said Handley.

“We have been in negotiations with Arla for several months regarding their milk prices, and we’ve asked them repeatedly why they aren't passing back some of their marketplace profits to farmers.”

“What we have here is a farmer-owned cooperative here, acting like a PLC,”​ Handley added.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Arla Foods, Fresh Milk

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1 comment

Arla

Posted by Jane Charlesworth,

Way is it now that Arla are trying to use their status as a so called farmer owned cooperative to try to turn farmer against farmer? Arla is the same so called farmer owned cooperative that it was last year.We handed our notice in last year before any hint of milk protests and had been part of Arla for a few years.We didn't see any of the profits coming back to the so called farmer owners! Dairy farmers need to stick together and get behind the only organization that has the farmers best interest at heart. The FFA.

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