French farmers dump milk to protest price slump

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French farmers dump milk to protest price slump

Post by Dairylover on Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:34 pm

French farmers dump milk to protest price slump
PARIS (September 19 2009): Angry French farmers dumped millions of liters of fresh milk next to one of France's most famous
tourist sites on Friday to denounce the slumping cost of milk and an EU plan to end production quotas, which could further
drive prices down. APLI, a small dairy farmer's union that organised the protest, said over 1,000 farmers and 300 tractors
took part in the event, pouring 3,5 million liters (925,000 gallons) of milk onto fields next to the famed Mont Saint-Michel.
The Medieval island monastery is one of the most visited sites in France and is next to the Normandy and Brittany regions,
which are both big milk producers. While the European Union strongly subsidises agriculture, milk farmers' groups say world
prices have sunk so much they are having to sell their milk at about 20 euro cents per liter _or about half its production
costs.
The crisis has driven many EU farmers into a ``milk strike,' with thousands refusing to deliver milk to the industrial dairy
conglomerates that produce anything from skimmed milk to processed cheese. But because cows have to be milked every day
anyhow, some farmers have been dumping the overflow in protest.
Authorities in France and several other producing countries have largely voiced support for the farmers. ``To be forced to
waste milk and spill it in fields, it's a sign of great desperation, ' French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire told the
I-television station on Friday. The TV also reported that a group of farmers had raided a French supermarket, distributing
its dairy products for free to customers.
In the Netherlands, farmers dumped 100,000 liters (26,418 gallons) of milk on a field 10 miles north of Amsterdam. German
farmers also demonstrated outside a meeting of Germany's federal and state agriculture ministers, pouring thousands of liters
of milk onto a road near the town of Eisleben.
The protests follow widespread actions across Europe this week, including a group that poured several tons of milk and cow
dung inside a bank in southern France on Thursday, accusing bankers of profiteering from the farmers' misery. The protests
have not drawn universal support from farmers, many of whom object to wasting the milk.
The head of the French OPL dairy union, Daniel Condat, retorted Friday that farmers on strike are also donating their
products to charities. He said French farmers donate about 15 million liters every year. ``Since the beginning of the strike,
farmers are giving milk away to whoever wants it,' Condat told France-Inter radio.

Copyright Associated Press, 2009

Dairylover

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