Winding-up petition for Milk Link

21 December 2001

Winding-up petition for Milk Link

LAWYERS acting for a group of dissatisfied Milk Link members have issued an ultimatum to wind up the farmer-owned co-operative which some producers claim has imposed unfair rules on members.

The lawyers will issue a petition to wind up the co-op unless the situation is resolved by Jan 9. They are acting for farmers who claim they were forced to sign a financial support agreement against their better judgement because had nowhere else to send their milk.

The farmers consider the terms of the agreement unreasonable, saying it allows the co-op to deduct 0.5p a litre to build up members capital. The farmers claim the agreement also requires members to guarantee to allow up to 5p a litre over a year to be made available if banks call in loans to Milk Link.

What started as a "rebellion" by small farmers has now grown to include some much bigger producers. These farmers appear to have sufficient financial resources to carry out their threat to petition for the co-op to be wound up. Some members are worried that capital could be invested in risky added-value ventures.

Philip Hosking chairman of the Small Farms Association said: "These new developments are nothing to do with me. But it doesnt surprise me. Ive told Milk Link time and again that what they did was questionable for all their members and not just small farmers."

A statement sent to FARMERS WEEKLY from Milk Link said: "The appropriate forum for these issues to be debated and resolved is the new democratically elected Membership Council. This body represents the interests of our members in a fair and equitable way." &#42

Milk Link failed to return phone calls before FARMERS WEEKLY went to Press. But Milk Link executives have in the past repeatedly tried to assure members that thorough financial assessments will be carried out prior to all potential purchases.

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