Doorstep customers of Pensworth Dairies, in the village where I live, this morning received a note from Sales Director Gideon Bishop informing them that it was necessary to increase the price of their milk by 3 pence a pint.

Mr Bishop explained that whilst he acknowledged that “no increases are welcome in the current economic climate” it has been necessary to increase prices to Pensworth customers following “a significant increase in the price paid to farmers”.

Now we don’t supply milk to Pensworth Dairies and I am not sure what price they are paying their farmers today. However, the reality is that for most farmers the most recent milk price cuts have been withdrawn or postponed – milk prices HAVE NOT increased significantly as he claims. In most instances, dairy companies cut the price they pay to farmers from June 1st and this cut has not been repaid. Thanks to the hard work of Farmers For Action and The NFU, a second cut that many were proposing (due to take effect from 1st August) has been suspended for now.

The letter from Gideon Bishop is reproduced in full below.

Dear Customer

I am sure you have seen in the media that British farmers are under extreme financial pressures due to a fall in the price of dairy commodities and a rise in the cost of production.

Following involvement from the National Farmers Union, there has been a significant increase in the price of milk paid to farmers, from the milk processors, in order to protect our dairy industry.

Pensworth, being a traditional family business, fully supports any initiative which maintains milk supply from our farmers and ensures continuity of supply of British milk.

As a result of these increases, we find it necessary to increase the price of our milk by 3 pence per pint and 5 pence per litre’ all 500ml long life and flavoured milks will also increase by 3 pence per unit. These increases will be effective from Thursday 16th August.

I realise that no increases are welcome in the current economic climate, but trust you understand our need to support our valuable dairy industry and that you will continue to purchase your milk via the doorstep delivery service.

Yours faithfully,

Gideon Bishop


Now I would applaud any significant increase in milk price that has been paid to dairy farmers in recent months. However, I think you will find the reality is that most farmers are receiving a price of around 2 pence a litres less than they were getting in April of this year.

I have seen little initiative by any dairy company to support British dairy farmers in recent months. It was the farmers who showed initiative – banding together to demand fairness, going without sleep to blockade milk depots and explaining to the public why they need more for their milk. If it weren’t for this action and solidarity on the part of milk producers, I doubt the dairy companies would have embarked upon any kind of initiative other than a further round of price cuts.

As I explained, I am not sure what Pensworth Dairies pay their farmers. But, if someone would like to explain what the significant increase in price paid to farmers amounts to, I would be glad to add it to this post. I wonder how much of the 3 pence a pint price rise, doorstep customers are paying, will get back to the farmers who supply them.

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