First Milk is the latest dairy processor to confirm its commitment to the voluntary dairy code of practice.

The farmer co-op has signed up to all aspects of the code, apart from those from which co-ops are exempt – the need for a pricing mechanism and a three-month notice period to quit following price or schedule changes.

A 12-month notice period is applicable on all contracts, but producers can opt to leave with six months’ notice upon payment of a small compensation fee, the co-op said.

“We wholeheartedly endorse the aims of the voluntary code of practice and believe that it is a big step in the right direction towards a level playing field for producers,” said vice-chairman and farmer director Tom Campbell.

First Milk had produced a members’ charter outlining the structure of its farmer governance, how it sets milk price, how members are rewarded through capital and ways in which members could participate in future plans, he added.

The charter had been endorsed by the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, which will carry out an annual independent review of the co-op’s practice against the charter, said Mr Campbell.

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