These people are cretins you know

The NFU that is:

NFU president Meurig Raymond warned that dairy farmers were “haemorrhaging money” and called for supermarkets to do more to back British suppliers. “We can’t blame consumers for not buying British if the product isn’t on display in the first place,” he told an industry conference in Glasgow. He said supermarkets were “shouting” about their British credentials on milk, but not doing enough to source other dairy produce from UK farmers. “We still import around 100,000 tonnes of cheddar, 350,000 tonnes of soft cheeses and 100, 000 tonnes of butter. It’s even worse on yoghurts and chilled desserts where over half what we see on our retail shelves comes from outside the UK.”

Speaking earlier on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme he said: “We have seen the product devalued – liquid milk in particular is now cheaper than water … There are very few dairy farmers making any money, most are haemorrhaging money at this present time, particularly those at 20p a litre. You have got processors not making any money.”

David Handley, chairman of lobby group Farmers For Action, told Today that the industry had to change after “10 years of turmoil”.

He said: “Most dairy farmers in this country have lowered costs to a point now that they can’t lower them any more. He said: “Most dairy farmers in this country have lowered costs to a point now that they can’t lower them any more. We have got a fantastic product, the consumer … wants to buy it.”

“Why are we allowing retailers to discount it, purely and simply – and evidence has come directly out of their mouths – to get people into their stores? That should not be happening to any industry, whether you are producing a radio, a litre of milk or a bottle of water.”

Seriously, a producer is complaining about retailers discounting his product.

No, not demanding that producers lower their price. But that retailers cover the cost of the discount themselves.

He’s mad, absolutely sodding mad.

21 thoughts on “These people are cretins you know”

  1. My teenage years were spent in North Somerset. And I tell you, this is what happens when a farmer let’s his son drink the rough, he ends up an NFU executive.

  2. A business losing ,money? Hey maybe time to change methods, customers even product. Cannot think why someone would keep making the same decisions over and over expecting a different result, pretty much the definition of stupidity.
    The milk price situation is not a new problem.

    As for cheese – perhaps people do indeed like cheap cheese.

  3. Is the farmer just using a poor choice of words? I know that, in print, he SAYS that the supermarkets are discounting the retail price, but I wonder if he MEANS that the supermarkets are squeezing his prices so that he’s the one paying for the low retail prices out of his own margins.

    That would fit better with the thrust of the argument, and I bet the quote was provided over the phone and used verbatim. If we accept that then there are three conclusions to draw….

    1) The farmers have a problem with their customer
    2) The farmers can’t articulate their problem properly
    3) The Graun doesn’t know a damn thing

  4. There are very few dairy farmers making any money, most are haemorrhaging money at this present time

    I’ve heard this a lot from farmers, and I have to say, stop doing it, then.

    I do my job for the money. If it stopped paying, I’d stop doing it. If I actually had to pay to do the job… hahahahahahaha. Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

    I appreciate that some dairy farmers want to do what they do regardless of the money — they have an emotional attachment to it, they enjoy it, they want to carry on the family tradition, etc. That’s all fine, but if those are your reasons to do something that costs you money, then what you are describing is a hobby, not a job. My hobbies cost me money too. Everyone’s do.

    I also appreciate that it can take a long time to change jobs, and you can’t just stop being a farmer overnight. That is an argument for some sort of short-term state assistance while you rearrange your career. But dairy farmers have been complaining about this for about twenty years now.

    And, if a whole lot of them stop producing milk, the price of milk will go up.

    There’s a farm near my house does archery courses and four-wheel-drive buggy races. A lucrative business to set up, and it requires very little capital to get going if you already own big tracts of land.

  5. You’ll prise this Brie from my cold, dead hands Meurig old chap.

    The Somerset and Cornish bries and camemberts are far superior to that French crap 🙂

  6. I know that, in print, he SAYS that the supermarkets are discounting the retail price, but I wonder if he MEANS that the supermarkets are squeezing his prices so that he’s the one paying for the low retail prices out of his own margins.

    Yes, I think that’s usually the subject of the complaint too, not the price at which the supermarket shifts the product but for how much they buy it from the producers.

  7. Ironman,

    Maybe we could get Brand to visit dairy farmers. Then they’d be happy. Problem solved.

    BIW,

    > The Somerset and Cornish bries and camemberts are far superior to that French crap

    They really are. And the pricing is beginning to reflect that.

  8. And we really do mine cheese in Somerset, hence the Cheddar cheese mines. At least that’s what we tell the dunce youngest brother, keeps him thinking he’s in gainful employment bless him.

  9. It seems the supermarkets are, in effect, acting a bit like a cartel, by using the fact that there are few of them but many producers, and can bully producers into taking less for the product. I dont think the supermarkets are covering the cost of the discounting themselves, they are making the producers do that for them. In that respect this is not really a free market, it is being rigged…

  10. DannyL,

    And what’s your evidence for that?

    The only time that supermarkets have been proven to be a cartel was after they got together and decided to pay farmers more than the market price. At which point, the OFT stomped all over them for raising costs to consumers.

    It’s not “bullying producers”. No-one’s holding a gun to their heads. They can walk away and do something else, like any other business.

  11. Strange that agricultural land prices, both to buy and to rent, have risen significantly in these last ten years of “turmoil”. (after having been seen as a bubble in the previous ten years)

  12. “The farmers can’t articulate their problem properly”

    And nobody made the obvious joke about Eddy Grundy being incapable of articulating anything properly!

  13. Well my local Sainsbury’s sells 4 pints for £1.50, and my local corner shop charges £1. I don’t see any loss-leading by the big 4.

  14. Wouldn’t it make more sense for some one from the NFU, or whatever, to, you know, actually go to New Zealand and see what they are doing there so well and then do it here?

    I’m always suspicious of supermarket suppliers moaning about being ‘squeezed’. I know a bunch of footwear trading companies here in China who supply to Tesco, M&S, Wallmart, etc and they’re always moaning about the customers’ expectations, price, attitude etc but the owners of all these companies are multi-millionaires.

  15. If David Archer is anything to go by, dairy farmers are resisting technological changes that allow cows to be milked when they are ready rather than when suits the farmer’s routine, thus reducing costs and raising yields, for… reasons. Not entirely sure what the reasons are; sentimental, Luddite, romantic?

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