Seldom have British farmers acted as militantly as they have this last week – dismayed at the current plight of sheep and dairy farming in particular.
And, as SRA Members it’s time to stand up and be counted and show your support.
Sheep farmers took to social media to launch their #nolambweek and have been withholding lamb supplies while dairy farmers have bought up all the milk at two supermarkets as feeling in the industry reached new levels of frustration and desperation.
The #NoLambWeek campaign has spread online with people in rural areas sharing the message on Twitter and Facebook.
When farmers sell lamb at market they receive around £1.36 per kg, losing £30 on each lamb, but when it reaches the supermarket shelves, shoppers are charged up to ten times that amount. Global lamb prices have fallen in the last year, on the back of the strengthening pound and cheap imports from New Zealand.
David Handey, chairman of Farmers for Action (FFA) said farmers were fighting to survive and blamed manufacturers and retailers for sourcing cheap lamb from New Zealand. He added: “Why do you want to source lamb from the other side of the world wwhen you have got the highest quality British lamb at the peak of its season coming onto the market reasonably priced?”
Meanwhile higher levels of production, matched with lower global demand are seeing milk prices globally fall to their lowest ever level, according to the Farmers Weekly. The price paid to UK dairy farmers continues to fall too and the magazine has produced posters (pictured here) urging people to buy British – both lamb and dairy products.
The presidents of the NFU, NFU Scotland, Ulster Farmers’ Union and NFU Cymru will meet at an emergency summit of farming organisations on Monday and the farming unions want the four UK farming ministers meet with them to find solutions to the serious problems facing farmers.
The unions acknowledge that there are serious global factors affecting farmgate prices and this isn’t a new issue, but now really is the time to show your support for British farmers and if you’re not already buying British lamb and dairy then you really should be looking to make the switch now. Ideally, cut out the middleman and go direct to a local farmer, ensuring they receive a fair price for their product and you help keep more money in the local economy.