The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) has set up a training programme to help businesses become more competitive by working together.
The RABDF Foundation for Collaboration scheme will be officially launched at a conference at the National Motorcycle Museum in Bickenhill, Solihull, on Wednesday 2 April.
It will include regional training meetings, group workshops and study trips to producer organisations in Europe.
The foundation will also provide cash to help farmers set up their own producer organisations, by funding the necessary business plans, feasibility studies and legal costs.
The RABDF successfully bid for a grant from the £5m Dairy Fund – part of the Rural Development Programme for England – that offers grants for projects to boost dairy farmers’ competitiveness through cooperation.
“With milk prices at an all-time high and processors keen to secure supplies, it’s now that farmers should think about how they can maintain a strong negotiating position and not when milk is at the bottom of the price curve.”
Nick Everington, chief executive RABDF
Chief executive Nick Everington said he was pleased to have secured the money.
“We believe this opportunity is very timely,” he said. “With milk prices at an all-time high and processors keen to secure supplies, it’s now that farmers should think about how they can maintain a strong negotiating position and not when milk is at the bottom of the price curve.
“The RABDF Foundation for Collaboration will help the association to continue its overall aim: to encourage the development of a successful, sustainable and profitable dairy sector which can be achieved in many ways, including redressing the balance of power in the supply chain through farmer cooperation.”
English farmers are eligible to take part and can attend the conference for £35, or £25 if they are RABDF members.
Those interested should contact project coordinator Lucy Mellor on 0845 458 2711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dairy Crest Direct has also secured a £170,000 Dairy Fund grant.
Its directors will use the money to further refine its farmers’ contracts and the formula, to explore futures mechanisms and to develop a forecasting model.