A 10-point plan to address the milk price crisis has been agreed at a meeting of dairy industry leaders.

The coalition of groups and organisations fighting for fairer milk prices met at NFU headquarters in Stonleigh, Warwickshire, on 10 August.

A spokesman for the coalition said the plan would build a “fair and functioning marketplace and had been approved by all members”.

The thrust is to expose bad practices, to redefine and empower the farmers’ role in the supply chain and ensure that the chain is transparent and fair.

“All farmers should receive a fair and sustainable milk price – one which at least covers their costs to produce milk.”
Mansell Raymond, NFU dairy board chairman

“Cheese also moves into the spotlight with the SOS Dairy campaign including milk and cheese in its focus,” said the spokesman.

In particular, the coalition has committed to campaigning to promote UK cheese and calling for own-label supermarket cheese to be British.

Speaking after the meeting, NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond said:

“All farmers should receive a fair and sustainable milk price – one which at least covers their costs to produce milk. This is the only way we will be able to ensure shoppers have the choice of British dairy products on supermarket shelves.

“What is very clear is that the dairy market has failed. Market highs have not been passed down to the farmgate.

Coalition members 
NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland, Farmers For Action, Tenant Farmers Association, Womens Food and Farming Union and the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers

“We need to see all milk buyers developing their own appropriate and transparent milk procurement and pricing models that are equitable for all parties and cover farmers’ production costs.”

Mr Raymond added: “British dairy industry can have a very bright future. We need to have every part of the dairy market working to capture present and future market opportunities both here and abroad.

“We have a growing demand for fresh, British, quality dairy products from a growing world population and we must be in a place where we can respond.”

10-point plan

  • Expose those whose damaging behaviour undermines the liquid milk market.
  • Work with milk buyer farmer representatives to ensure that representation is professional, independent and democratic
  • Set out a roadmap to capture the maximum opportunity for producer organisations and assist farmers wanting to set up POs or other collaborative organisations
  • Work to finalise the code of practice for dairy contracts.
  • Develop a process to monitor the implementation of the code
  • Encourage all milk buyers to develop their own appropriate and transparent milk procurement and pricing models that are equitable for all parties and cover farmers’ production costs. Clearly, the coalition doesn’t seek to say what that model should be, but we want to see all milk buyers working to create their own models that deliver a fair and sustainable price for farmers.
  • Expose bad practice or non-compliance with the code by developing a whistle-blower mechanism for farmers
  • Campaign to promote British cheese and other dairy products to consumers and to retailers
  • Work with DairyCo so farmers can utilise relevant market information such as up-to-date global trends, league tables and dairy market predictions
  • Prepare an ambitious strategy for the UK dairy industry’s future without EU milk quotas, which takes full advantage of growing domestic and global demand for dairy products.

More on this topic

For more on the milk price crisis see our dedicated page

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