A regional newspaper journalist has staged his own protest as part of the national row over the price paid to dairy farmers for milk.
Joe Watson, the award-winning farming editor of Abedeen’s Press and Journal, reported in his column on Saturday that he had walked out of an Asda supermarket without the milk he had intended to buy.
He wrote that he had done this because staff at the store in Huntly were unable to answer questions about the prices paid to farmers for milk.
Writing in his column, Joe said that three staff members could not tell him whether Asda paid its dairy farmers a profitable price.
He wrote: “I felt tremendously good on Wednesday after walking out of Asda’s store at Huntly without the two four-pint containers of milk I intended buying.
“I left them at the till after staff were unable to answer what I thought was a very simple question: does Asda pay its dairy farmers a profitable ex-farm price?
“I know only too well the answer to that in that neither it nor its predecessor, Arla, do, but I wanted to see what staff at the retailer would tell me after more than a week of the milk-buying policies of certain retailers and the plight of dairy farmers seldom being out of the headlines.
“There is something deeply wrong when a pint of water costs more than the equivalent amount of milk.
“Tory MP Glyn Davies summed up the situation well in the Commons. He said dairy farmers were being torn apart by the corporate greed and ruthlessness of processors and operators. Hear, hear.
“The time has indeed come for change. A more equitable spread of profits across the dairy chain is required. Retailers can easily do that, without consumers paying a penny more for milk.”
The row over milk prices has centred on cuts of up to two pence per litre in the amount farmers receive from major milk processors, which is due to come in from 1 August.
Last week Asda, Morrisons and Co-op said that from August they would increase the premium they pay to farmers for their milk.