Dairy cows grazing in field with windmills in the background© Cultura/REX/Shutterstock

Europe’s largest dairy co-op, FrieslandCampina, has announced it will pay producers a premium for higher-quality milk with sustainable attributes.

The new “Top Dairy” line will reward higher animal welfare, biodiversity and lower greenhouse gas emissions with a price premium believed to be about 10 eurocents/litre (9p/litre).  

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Discussions are under way over exactly what will qualify producers to sell into the new line, with products expected to hit shops in the first quarter of 2019.

Expansion for producers on the new tariff will be allowed proportionately, in line with the demand the new line of high-welfare products creates.

“By accelerating our sustainability efforts, we set the bar higher for dairy in general,” said Hein Schumacher, CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina.

“Increasingly better nutrition for our consumers and a good living for our dairy farmers. This is what it’s all about, now and in the future,” he added.

 

Frans Keurentjes, chairman of Zuivelcoöperatie, the co-op that owns FrieslandCampina, said sustainable milk would pay off for the business’ producers.

“Being one of the leading dairy co-operatives in the world, we ask our members to show strong commitment to meeting the demand for more sustainable and special milk flows.”

He added, “In addition to the higher payment for sustainability, we are aiming at well-balanced and market-driven growth. This will help us create a co-operative in which a next generation of farmers is guaranteed a future.”

In April, the processor’s 18,645 European dairy farmers in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium were paid 29.29p/litre for milk with constituent contents of 4% butterfat and 3.3% protein.