Sir, – please print my letter dated: Umpteenth of Doomsday, May, 2020.

It is completely ludicrous that British dairy farmers suffer so severely in such times of national distress, when the need for food security has never been so prominent.

How have we as an industry allowed ourselves to be forced into this corner by a broken processing industry and a profit greedy retail sector (you put your prices up, didn’t you? tut, tut) whilst dictating a take it or leave it situation. One where we, the farmers, are forced to bear all losses.

It’s fairly simple and it’s been said a thousand times 'divided we stand and united we fall'.

Our inability to react and minimise losses has resulted in a free-for-all by the greedy, leading to poverty for the needy. Our industry is broken by corporate incompetence, it’s constantly devalued by inferior foreign imports and farmers are forced into competing for alleged premiums that are merely penalties in disguise.

We do not hear members of the two large co-ops crying too much, because they have the farmers, processors, retailers and consumers' best interests at heart!

Take the time to read chancellor Rishi Sunak’s 10-point dairy plan (just google it). It hits the nail on the head: Point 6: 'we need more producer organisations'.

If that was the case already, we would never have been in this situation. The pandemic's boom and bust requirements could have been managed instead of handled like a fire sale. Now, many farmers face uncertain futures, with some nearly or already bankrupt?

Others are too scared to speak out for fear of repercussions from their milk buyer, with threats and bullying becoming more common (the worst was 'you know who you are and we will remember').

This situation isn’t going to improve by itself. The farming unions can’t/won’t do it for you. New contracts won’t make one bit of difference while processors set prices.

Surely, there are those amongst us with the drive and desire to make change? And ending with the possibility that, post-Brexit, we will have the aim of being the strongest milk marketing organisation in the UK within our grasp.

This must be an incentive to make a change to your lifestyle and avoid a future of poverty. Will you do something about it, other than moan to every person you meet? It gets old and they stop listening

Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. Will you do something other than turn the page?

From small acorns...

PS: I’m asking for a friend who fears repercussions.

Iain Smith

Dairy farmer,