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8 March 2011 | Lindsay Clark
Dairy co-operative FirstMilk has
announced it will pay its suppliers more in response to rising input prices.
From 1 April 2011, the standard litre price it pays to farm
producers will increase by 1.2p to 26.2p per litre. It will also pay cheese
First Milk is Asda’s main cheddar supplier, and also
supplies milk to Nestlé’s Girvan factory in Scotland and Dairy Crest.
Chairman Bill Mustoe said the increase was a result of
negotiations with First Milk’s customers and running its business more
“In recognition of the leap in farm input costs and the
strength of alternative markets for milk, we are maintaining price pressure on
all our customers to enable us to pay a sustainable return to our members,” he
Milk prices have become a controversial issue in the UK amid
campaigns to sustain a local dairy industry. In September, National Farmers Union
(NFU) president Peter Kendall confirmed he had written to retailers calling for
dairy farmers to get their “fair share of better market returns”.
His letter came two months after the union published its Great Milk Robbery report, which quizzed
milk buyers on why dairy farmers were losing out. Kendall said the response to
the report had been “unsatisfactory” and “warranted further investigation”.