NFU Conference 2013: Dairy sector urged to join strategy debate

UK dairy farmers will miss out on future opportunities unless the industry comes together to develop a clear strategy for industry development, according to the NFU.

The union wants processors, retailers and farmers to start a conversation about the future of the milk sector.

It has produced a discussion document to start the debate, claiming at present there is a vacuum with regards to a whole industry strategy with which farmers can engage.

Mansel Raymond, NFU dairy board chairman, said: “We’re starting a conversation with farmers, processors, retailers and everyone with an interest in the dairy industry about a robust, ambitious strategy for its future development.”

One of the key principles underpinning the discussion document, published on the opening day of the NFU conference (27 February), is the belief that any dairy strategy must be based on  growth in output of milk in Britain.

“Our starting point is growth that at least keeps pace with the growing global market place,” said Mr Raymond.

“If we fail to do this, then relatively speaking we are falling behind in terms of scale and potentially efficiency.

“The British dairy industry has a lot going for it and what we must do now is organise ourselves to thrive in a brave new world where quota restrictions are lifted and demand is growing. We cannot afford to be left behind.”

The aim is to develop a working strategy document that can be launched at the Livestock Event in July.

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