The Welsh government has given dairy farmers the green light to set up producer organisations.
In a statement issued on Friday 14 June, Wales’ farm minister Alun Davies gave his backing to dairy producer organisations (DPO) and announced that farmers could begin setting them up.
But Mr Davies said DPOs had to have a membership of at least 10 producers in order to be big enough to be viable.
Not only must they have a minimum membership of 10 dairy farmers, but the volume of raw milk produced by these farmers must collectively be at least 6m litres a year.
In giving Welsh DPOs a green light, Mr Davies said: “I am pleased to announce that dairy producers who are now in a position to consider setting up a DPO can do so immediately.”
In a further move, the minister has established a Dairy Task Force for Wales to advise him on developing a strategic vision for the Welsh dairy industry.
“The task force will consider the challenges faced by the dairy supply chain and will advise me on any structures or measures that need to be put in place,” he explained.
Only half of all Welsh milk is processed in Wales, mainly into cheese, while liquid milk is processed in England, with some Welsh milk returned for Welsh consumers.
Mr Davies said adding value to milk must be a priority for the Welsh dairy industry and he wants to build on the success of the protected geographical indication (PGI) status in place for Welsh beef and Welsh lamb.
Currently no Welsh cheeses have a protected name designation. “This is obviously something we need to put right in order to give Welsh cheeses the recognition they deserve,” said the minister.