Time to put your hand up
Understandably there is a lot of anger boiling amongst dairy farmers today, following the latest round of milk price cuts announced for August 1st. The prospect of seeing almost 4 pence a litre wiped off milk prices has sent shockwaves through the industry and farmers are demanding action to address the issue. However, when I look at forums and comments on the related articles run in Farmers Guardian and other media, the majority of those venting their anger and calling for change, have posted as “Anonymous”.
We cannot coordinate any kind of campaign to improve our lot unless farmers are prepared to put their hand up and step into light. A bunch of unidentified individuals railing against the might of dairy companies will not be heard. There is nothing to be ashamed of in asking for a better future (or any future) but you must be prepared to stand behind your ideas and opinions.
The current situation also highlights the lack of any kind of cohesive body to represent all those who find themselves fighting for their survival today. Who will speak for us? I didn’t set Free Range Dairy up as a protest group – my ambitions are to win public support and instil real value in our milk. This is a long term goal, which you might consider all too slow to save many of those being squeezed to the point of no return today. But, amidst all the anger at frustration at the injustice we are being dealt, we must also continue to tell the public why we are worth saving.
As I have said many times before, Free Range Dairy is not about creating a niche market for a chosen few – it is about bringing together the vast majority of UK milk producers who seasonally graze their cows. It is about creating recognition for what we do and taking back control of our farms and our futures. I hope NFU negotiations and Farmers For Action protests can make a difference for all of us. But, it is time we also mounted a major offensive on public opinion. So, please put a name to your anonymous face and start believing we can make a difference. I will willingly use the website and any lines of communication to help get farmers concerns across. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to come along and save you.
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