Industry leaders have agreed a code of practice aimed at ensuring fairer milk prices for dairy farmers.

The deal follows months of talks to devise a code of practice to oversee the relationship between farmers and milk processors.

An official announcement is expected on Monday (3 September) following a meeting between processors and farmers’ representatives on Friday (31 August).

The meeting – which saw both sides sign a deal – was billed as a final push to reach an agreement ahead of this week’s Livestock 2012 event.

Exact details of the voluntary code of practice are unknown, but one source close to the negotiations described the agreement as “robust and balanced”.

It will cover pricing and the notice period to be given to farmers ahead of any changes made by processors to the farmgate milk price.

The agreement will also detail the terms and conditions, allowing farmers to leave contracts more easily if they are unhappy with the price they receive.

Currently many farmers supplying milk to processors are locked in to contracts for 12 months after a price reduction – even if it leaves them making a loss.

Farm minister Jim Paice had asked dairy processors and farm leaders to ensure a final agreement on a code of practice before 31 August.

It followed an initial agreement on the principal of a code of practice earlier this summer at the Royal Welsh Show.

More to follow…

Johann Tasker on G+

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