Dairy Farmers Blockade Plants Over Low Prices

"Skimmed" milk prices enrage U.K. farmers, Jamie Oliver
Wikimedia/Andy Wright

For two days, hundreds of dairy farmers in the U.K. have maintained a tractor blockade around milk processing plants, in protest over what they say are excessively low prices.

According to The Telegraph, the protests coincided with two of that country's largest supermarkets lowering their milk prices even further.

One supermarket, Asda, ran ads saying they were "skimming the cost of milk" after lowering prices for a half gallon from £1.18 to £1.

According to the Telegraph, farmers' groups have warned that thousands of dairy farmers could be put out of business if the price cuts continue.

Farmers for Action (FFA) said that rising feed costs and lowering prices means that farmers are being paid less for milk than it costs them to produce it. They also suggested that members might decide to hold back milk if prices did not become more sustainable.

"We're going to go out of business so we'll see how they like it with no milk at all on their shelves," said the FFA's Stephen Brittan to the BBC.

A spokesperson from Asda told the Telegraph that it would maintain the lower prices charged to consumers, but increase the price paid to farmers by two pence per liter.

Of course, any food story coming out of the U.K. has to involve Jamie Oliver, and the celebrity chef has obliged by coming out in favor of the farmers and encouraging consumers to boycott supermarkets that use milk as "a loss leader," the BBC reports.