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17 August 2015

Church urges consumers to back British farmers

Church urges consumers to back British farmers

The Church of England is encouraging shoppers to "buy British", as farmers continue to campaign for a fairer price for their goods.

The Church's national rural officer Dr Jill Hopkinson has posted a blog today asking people to buy local, buy British and ask questions.

She recommends consumers buy their milk directly from a local farm or farm shop if possible.

In the blog, Dr Jill said: "It takes roughly 10 litres of milk to make one kilogramme of hard cheese such as cheddar, so it is important that we try and buy as much cheese, yoghurt and butter that is produced in the UK from British milk. Roughly half the milk produced in the UK is used to make dairy products."

UK-sourced products can be identified easily by the red tractor logo or Union Jack on the packet.

She wrote: "Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Marks &Spencer and The Co-operative all source directly from dairy farmers and have a cost plus pricing model, which means the farmer receives more for the milk than it cost to produce.

"In recent days, Morrisons has introduced a new product where the consumer pays 10p extra for the milk, which will then be paid directly back to the farmer. This is an interesting development as it seems to absolve the supermarket from its responsibility to pay a fair price and puts the onus on the public to shop responsibly and pay more. Asda, Aldi and Lidl have also recently raised the price they pay for milk, but still a few pence short of the cost of production.

"Others, at the time of writing, are yet to make any announcements."

Dr Jill warns that having milk delivered by a milkman is no guarantee that the price paid to the farmers who produced it is fair.

"If like the vast majority of the population you buy your milk from the supermarket, find out how much they are paying the farmer before you choose where to buy," she concludes.