Thursday, June 04, 2009

Gone to pasture

That's the Dairy Farmers of Great Britain. That's the cooperative that is contracted to supply most of the North East's primary schools with milk.

Back in 2007 South Tyneside Green Party reported that the cooperative had stopped supplying school milk in the traditional 'third' glass bottles because its bottling machine was broken, instead supplying the milk in 'tetra' cartons. When the company decided not to repair the bottling machine, South Tyneside parents were handed an increase in the cost of milk as supplying the milk in cartons was more expensive. Essentially the council tax payer was subsidising the company's change to a less sustainable mode of milk distribution.

But this wasn't just a problem in South Tyneside - schools and parents all over the region were affected.

The loss of Dairy Farmers is seriously bad news for farmers. The loss of the cooperative will increase the power the large supermarkets can exercise over the farmers.

In hindsight, it seems like the cooperative's decision not to invest in repairing or replacing the machine may have been an indicator of much more serious financial problems within the cooperative.

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