Press and Journal farming editor makes personal protest on milk price row

The farming editor of Scottish regional daily, the Press and Journal, has staged his own protest in the national row over the price paid to dairy farmers for milk.

Award-winning Joe Watson, one of the most influential farming editors in the UK, reported in his signature industry comment piece in Saturday’s Press and Journal how he madehis protest in a farming town near Aberdeen.

Watson told readers: “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.”

Watson said three members of staff were unable to answer his question.

He pointed out: “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.”