Farmers' tractor convoy on way to see Pope

A group of German dairy farmers are slowly making their way to Rome  from the Baltic Sea on their tractors and farm truck, to ask the Pope for help.

With milk prices plummeting, the  men hope they can have a brief audience with Pope Benedict to urge him to help Europe's dairy farmers.

The four men, Michael Bobsien, Albert Kobrow, Jacob de Vries, and Wolfgang Werk von Perleberg, left their homes in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in the far north east of Germany, last Friday. All along their route so far, they have been cheered by fellow farmers and sympathizers.

Dairy farmers are suffering from a severe slump in prices  all over Europe. Many are struggling to make ends meet and could soon be driven out of business.

The quartet heading for Rome belong to the German Federal Association of Dairy Farmers (BDM).  They  went to Brussels in May to take part in protests organized by European dairy farmers calling for the European Union milk quotas to be lowered.

The group is traveling under the motto: "We have lost our faith in politics, but not in the church." Although two of the group are not even Catholic that hasn't deterred them from hoping  Pope  Benedict will grant them a brief audience.

Mr De Vries told the  German paper, Neumarkter Nachrichten: "The Pope is there for everyone. De Vries said he wanted to try everything to ensure that his three sons would be able carry on the family farm in future.A Lutheran pastor from the town of Bützow, Karl-Martin Schabow, has provided the men with a petition letter to  hand over to the Pope.

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