DFoB producers finding new buyers for milk

Dairy producers left stricken by the collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain are beginning to find alternative homes for their milk.

First Milk says it has signed up more than 100 former DFB suppliers as farmers desperately seek alternative buyers.

Talk about the demise of DFoB with other producers on our forums

Read Phil Clarke’s Business Blog on how the banks should treat DFoB

Dairy Farmers of Britain called in the receivers on Wednesday after months of industry speculation over the business’ future. The co-op’s 1800 dairy farmers have been told they will receive nothing for May’s milk or for the first few days of June.

Mark McQuade, milk operations director at First Milk, said: “Yesterday alone we signed up over 100 Dairy Farmers of Britain members and our hauliers are collecting their milk from this morning. With a fair wind it’s only taking about 10 minutes to sign up a producer.

“We are still looking for milk in the north and midlands areas. Producers can either call our recruitment number (0141 847 6800) or drop into our Lake District creamery at Aspatria in Cumbria. Even this morning (5 June) we are fielding a large volume of calls.”

The Organic Milk Suppliers’ Co-Operative has stepped in to take milk from DFoB’s organic dairy farmers.

Although OMSCO signed a deal with DFoB just days before receivership was announced, the organic co-op has agreed with the DFoB Organic Group, management and the receiver that it will take on all DFoB organic members, including collection and marketing in the next few days, rather than from 1 July as previously agreed.

John Alpe, chair of DFoB’s organic members, said “This agreement should help to remove a lot of the uncertainty for DFoB organic members, who were shocked by the appointment of receivers on Wednesday.

The fact that we had this agreement in place will simply mean that the planned implementation date of 1 July will be brought forward and DFoB organic members will become full members of OMSCo as soon as possible.

“We thank OMSCo members and staff for supporting us at this time and also DFoB staff and the receiver for helping with the smooth transition. This will not only provide a short-term solution to issues raised by the appointment of a receiver, but will also help to provide longer-term benefits in terms of efficiency savings to many organic producers.”

Official receiver Stephen Oldfield of PricewaterhouseCoopers said: “I am delighted that these 82 members have found a safe home so quickly.

“This is a great early result for the receivers, keeping the milk flowing is an essential part of our strategy and the migration of these organic farmers to OMSCo will provide them with an outlet for their milk going forward.”

DFoB member? Distressed or troubled about what the news might mean for your business? Don’t suffer in silence – www.farmcrisisnetwork.org.uk