Emerson’s Supermarket is taking the lead to assist farmers struggling during the milk price crisis by donating 10p to a charity when customers buy two litres of Dale Farm milk in the store.
The Armagh supermarket, which has been serving the local community for 125 years, is to raise funds which will be donated to Rural Support – a charity which offers a support service to farming families.
Farmers across Northern Ireland have been joining dairy farmers across the UK in protests over the cost of milk production in comparison to what they are actually being paid.
The challenges being faced by local farmers, as a result of volatility in global market conditions, means many families fear they could lose their businesses by Christmas.
Gavin Emerson, owner of Emerson’s Supermarket, said many of his customers are families of dairy farmers who are struggling so as a business he decided to take practical action to help.
He said: “The current market for liquid milk is impacting negatively on dairy farmers and their families. No business person wants to get up out of bed knowing they are getting up to lose money.
“Many of these hard working families are customers of ours so we feel a duty to do something which offers practical support to an organisation which helps and support for families needing it. There isn’t a charity or fund specifically aimed at helping dairy farmers so we have chosen to donate all monies raised to Rural Support which offers a listening and signposting service.
“We hope by making a 10p donation that our customers will get behind the initiative and show a hand of support for the people who work so hard to put milk on our tables. We hope other businesses can see a way in which they too could help support families who are in need.”
The move by Emerson’s has been welcomed by the Ulster Farmers’ Union and by Rural Support.
Ian Marshall, the president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, said: “Emerson’s decision to donate 10p for every two litres of milk purchased in store is a positive step towards giving back to the farming community.
“Current market volatility has caused farmers major problems - not only with dairy products. In recent weeks, plummeting prices and reduced global demand for staple UK produce have left farmers facing a grim situation, made all the worse for many by growing financial strain on their business.
“By donating money to Rural Support, Emerson’s are giving back to the agricultural industry in an uncomplicated way, through a charity that significantly helps the rural community. It provides support to farmers and rural dwellers and I would encourage anyone who feels they are struggling to contact Rural Support.”
Jude McCann, of Cookstown based Rural Support, said: “Rural Support are extremely pleased Emerson’s Supermarket is supporting our work in helping farming families through this very difficult time.
“Without donations like these to our charity we could not provide the much needed support and services to farming families. Our message to farmers who are experiencing financial stress is to seek help. Contact Rural Support on our helpline 0845 606 7 607.”