Support South West Dairy Farmers

Milk is big news

As a firm, we are passionate about supporting the rural industry and we are spearheading a regional campaign that both supports and celebrates our farming community. We commissioned a study to find out just how committed the public is to buying local dairy products to help safeguard the long-term future of the industry. We want to use the results to help encourage as many people as possible to make a conscious choice to buy more regional dairy products, thus supporting our local farmers.


Why? Milk is big news – prices that farmers are receiving for their milk have tumbled and our dairy-farming sector is in crisis.


Dairy farming is at the core of the rural economy and in an area like the South West we rely on it for hundreds of jobs, not to mention the sector’s importance to the future food security of the whole country.


At Stephens Scown we know first hand what the current crisis means to dairy farmers. Our rural services team works with a number of dairies and dairy farmers so we know how hard they work and how soul destroying it is not to receive a fair price for their product. Farming is more than a job, it is a way of life, often passed down through generations. This is about more than losing jobs – a whole way of life is at risk.


Read all about the research findings here.


So while politicians debate the long term solutions, what can each of us do to support local dairy farmers and help save this crucial part of our way of life in the South West?


We need to keep the issue in the news, celebrate our local dairy farmers and show how much support they have. That is why we have devised our “put your milk where your moustache” is campaign. Here are the ways you can get involved:

1. Buy local

choose dairy products that are produced in the South West where ever you can.

2. Make a pledge

sign up to pledge your support to your local dairy farmers.

3. Milk moustache selfie

send us a photo of yourself with a milk moustache to display in our gallery.



Historically, the milk marketing boards set milk prices; the boards bought milk from farmers and sold it to processors and dairies. In 1994 things changed when the industry was deregulated.


The fallout saw the creation of a mix of both big milk processors and smaller co-ops. In Britain three main processors – Robert Wiseman Dairies (now Muller Wiseman), Dairy Crest and Arla Foods have tended to pay higher milk prices than the co-ops. The co-operatives however have continued to invest in their processing capacity in a bid to add value to the milk they handle and return a better price to producers.


All milk buyers have a standard litre price; some farmers are receiving as little as 19p a litre – the lowest since 2007. The producer milk price varies on three core factors: the volume being produced, the season of the year and the frequency of how often the milk is collected.


Milk prices are largely influenced by the global market and the demand for dairy products elsewhere. Around three-fifths of milk produced in Britain is sold and consumed in this country as liquid milk. British farmers are finding that there is a glut of cheese on the European market due to the Russian ban on EU imports, with the result that prices are falling.


Another major contributing factor to price is the retailers. The major supermarkets demand dedicated supply pools in return for a premium. The supermarkets’ approach to milk pricing, coupled with political and global issues is having devastating effects on our dairy farmers.


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