National agency can work

A NATIONAL milk selling agency can work and is getting closer to becoming reality, believes David Handley.

Addressing a Spotlight on Profit seminar at the Dairy Event, Mr Handley said the main thing holding the agency back now was funding.

“We need funding to get it off the ground. MDC have been invaluable in getting it this far, but now we need more.”

And Mr Handley was critical of the co-ops which were against the initiative. “Two of the three co-ops have said the agency can’t work, but they haven’t even read the proposal.

“The one which has, Milk Link, says there is no reason why the idea can‘t succeed.”

On top of that, the Office of Fair Trading has said would have no issues with an agency so long as there was no evidence of price fixing.

“This is not a way to save every dairy farmer, but it is a way for dairy producers to take control and stop being dictated too.”

Mr Handley was critical of Dairy UK, the new representative body for the industry. “How can any organisation claim to represent producers when only two members of its board are producers?

“On top of that, it has already stated that it won‘t discuss milk prices. How can it add anything to the industry?”

But Mr Handley said protests, which have long been a feature of FFA actions, were no longer the way forward. Although, he did threaten that FFA members would be at ASDA‘s doors in the next 15 days.

The key to the future would be good marketing and listening to market forces, he reckoned. “If you don‘t listen to what the market tells you then don‘t complain,” he warned.

“If producers listened to the market there would be less of a seasonality problem. When you produce milk cheaply someone will want to buy it cheaply.”

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