Dairy farmers tackle union leader on sinking prices

Angry dairy farmers took to the streets at the weekend, to protest against their own representatives in the Farmers’ Association, who they claim are not defending their interests.

Dairy farmers tackle union leader on sinking prices

Banging cow bells, drums and accompanied by brass bands, around 2,000 dairy farmers, many in fancy dress, gathered near the farm of Gerd Sonnleitner, president of the Farmers’ Association.

They said they were holding a Haberfeldtreiben – a medieval kind of rural court procedure, in which locals would gather at the house of someone accused of immorality, and call them out, sometimes chasing them across the fields.

Speaking from his farm in Ruhstorf near Passau, Bavaria, Sonnleitner told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, he understood the frustration of the dairy farmers.

“But,” he said, “we cannot attack each other.”

The dairy farmers said they were suffering from sinking milk prices, and were not being helped by their association.

They were particularly badly hit by a decision a week ago in the Bundesrat to reject a bill which would restrict milk production, thus boosting prices.

The Farmers’ Association had warned against the measure, saying this would push dairies into importing milk from elsewhere.