Replacements named for April 1, 2000

12 November 1999

Replacements named for April 1, 2000

ZENITH, Central Milk and Meadow Fresh are the three bodies that will replace Milk Marque from April 1 2000.

Milk producers in the north, from Cumbria and Northumberland, south to Lincolnshire and across to mid-Wales will sell to Zenith.

Farmer-director John Cook said that while the new co-op would be taking on the transport and logistics from Milk Marque to enable a "seamless transition", it would be a very different organisation.

"Rigid selling systems are a thing of the past, we will tailor individual contracts to individual customer needs in a way that Milk Marque could not do."

When it came to the question of new members Mr Cook warned that if people wanted to join they would only be taken if they added value. If they had a history of poor quality, or were in a difficult location he said Zeniths council would have to think very hard before agreeing to take them.

Large groups now selling direct are likely to face problems should they want to join the co-op, for fear of disturbing market agreements "we will have to balance short-term interest against long-term gains."

The council for Central milk which will handle about 1.6bn litres a year from milk producers from East Anglia to South West Wales, will be chaired by former MM chairman Poul Christensen and Paul Beswick will be managing director. Mr Christensen said: "Effective member representation is a vital part of building a successful co-operative." The council will meet for the first time at the end of the month.

The southern company, Meadow Fresh has yet to appoint a chief executive but the board of directors comprises; West Sussex farmer Jim Harrison, John Singleton from Hants and Cornish milk producer Rex Ward.

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