NFU names more dairy code ‘dodgers’

The NFU has named and shamed more dairy processors it says have failed to sign a code of practice guaranteeing fair milk prices for farmers.

A list of 10 processors has been published on the NFU website – one year after the start of the #SOSdairy campaign that saw farmers take to the streets in protest at milk price cuts.

The 10 processors are Barbers Cheese, Beltons Cheese, Freshways, Glanbia Cheese, Meadow Foods, Medina Dairy, Nom Dairy, Paynes Dairies, Wensleydale Cremery and Yeo Valley Organic.

Negotiations are ongoing with a further processor – Wyke Farms – which the NFU says agrees with the principles of the code but has yet to adopt it.

Some of the companies highlighted on the NFU website were named by NFU dairy chairman Mansel Raymond at an NFU Council meeting earlier this week.

The NFU has also published a list of processors that have signed up to the Dairy Industry Code of Best Practice for Contractual Relations.

It includes Arla Foods UK, Cotteswold Dairy, Cricketer Farm, Dairy Crest, First Milk, Lactalis, McLelland, Longley Farm, Lye Cross Farm, Muller-Wiseman and Parkham Farms.

The lists were published ahead of the Livestock and Dairy event at the NEC on 3-4 July.

The union has also taken out an advert in the Grocer magazine, urging retailers to insist that their dairy processor supplier offers farmers a fair milk contract – one that complies with the code.

With over 85% of the processing market signed up, and statistics revealing that the average UK farmgate milk price is up 4.9% on last year, the NFU believes the code has been a success.

NFU president Peter Kendall (pictured) said: “Without doubt, the British dairy industry is in a better place now than it was 12 months ago, when price cut after price cut was forcing farmers to breaking point and there were genuine worries about the future of the industry.

Farming organisations had worked really hard over the past year to help the industry stand on its own feet again – and the code of practice was a vital tool to ensure this happened.

“Signing up to the code means that farmers have flexibility in contracts they have never had before, encourages healthy competition within the market and also sends a clear message about the future of the industry,” said Mr Kendall.

“It gives confidence to people wanting to invest in British dairy and shows that people understand how important this industry is to the nation.

“We urge those not signed up to the code to do so now. Our cards are on the table. And our message to retailers and farmers alike is the same.

“If your processor is not on this list, you need to go to them and find out why they are not.

“Only when everyone is signed up can we have a fair, unified and profitable dairy industry that benefits the whole chain and will give us all an industry we can be proud of.”

Jim Begg, director general of Dairy UK, which represents milk processors, said the organisation was pleased that both farm minister David Heath and the NFU share its view that code had been a “huge success”.

The industry was now in a much better place than it was 12 months ago, said Mr Begg.

“Ongoing collaboration remains key. All parties need to continue to work together to make it an even better Code, with even stronger penetration.

“However, this should be as a result of companies seeing for themselves the benefits of adopting the Voluntary Code, and by talking to their farmers constructively on the best way forward for their individual businesses.”

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NFU names and shames dairy processors