The NFU is inviting dairy farmers from across the South East to a summit about co-operation through producer organisations (POs) to secure better returns.
The conference will take place at the South of England Showground in Ardingley, West Sussex, from 2pm next Wednesday (9 November).
It aims to bring together dairy farmers who are keen to form a PO and the NFU hopes it will facilitate discussions between interested parties.
Kent fruit grower James Smith, of Loddington Farm and Avalon Produce – one of the UK’s largest fruit companies, with 50 members producing 30,000t each year – will address delegates about the advantages of being in a PO.
Other speakers will include NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes, NFU chief dairy adviser Sian Davies and AHDB Dairy’s Chris Gooderham.
Sussex NFU adviser James Osman said after 18 months of extremely poor milk prices, dairy farmers should capitalise on signs of recovery in the market and consider forming POs to secure their future.
“Power can be returned to the producer who sells milk via a large selling desk, such as a producer organisation, and we believe now is a crucial time for dairy farmers to consider co-operation,” he added.
‘Seize the moment’
NFU South East dairy board chairman Nigel Stacey, of Hanslope, Milton Keynes, said: “Some dairy farmers now have a priceless opportunity to seize the moment by forming, and being part of, a producer organisation to help stabilise their future, having suffered horrendously from low milk prices.
“There are key lessons to be learned and I would strongly urge all those interested in securing their future in milk production to attend.”
Producer organisations are groups of farmers and growers set up primarily to negotiate prices and terms and conditions of supply with one or more processors.
In the face of price volatility, grouping supply in this way strengthens producers’ position in the market.