Muller producer group wants justification for farmer notices

Muller’s milk producer group wants to see more detail and justification for the processor serving 12 months’ notice to 34 milk producers in England, Wales and Scotland.

In a statement, the processor said these producers had been selected for various reasons, including locations and volumes, which make continued collection financially unsustainable, or for not meeting the quality or farm standards its customers increasingly required.

David Herdman, chairman of the Muller Milk Group (MMG), which represents producers, told Farmers Weekly that while the board supported the processor in ensuring suppliers were up to standard, it had not been given enough information on this latest move to be able to support it.

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For example, where the reason for the notice being served was because of a failure of some sort, then the MMG would like to know what had been done to try to remedy this, and whether it had been recorded, said Mr Herdman.

The MMG has not been given either the names or locations of the farmers served notices, so was reliant on those affected getting in touch with the group for help.

“Our next step will be to source the information as to who they are and, as we have done in the past, then to look at what options there are. It will be a huge wrench if some of them have to leave milk production. We have co-ordinated meetings in the past [when Muller has served notices] with other processors and we’re prepared to do that again, but we would like more information,” said Mr Herdman.

Muller said it had been incentivising farmers to address issues that were important to consumers, and was a long-term supporter of higher standards, incentivising participation in herd health programmes. It added that it appreciated the notices would be extremely unwelcome news, and its farm supply team would work with those affected.