Here are some of the areas where our lobbying on behalf of NFU members has made a difference during the past month, as reported in our August British Farmer and Grower Magazine.
The NFU has written to formally complain to National Trading Standards over the use of ‘fake’ farm branding by retailers on some food products. This follows concerns expressed by NFU members that the use of ‘fake’ farm labels can be misleading for shoppers resulting in them being at risk of mistakenly buying a product that differs from the product they thought they were buying.
The most recent and high profile example is Tesco’s introduction of brand names such as Woodside Farms and Boswell Farms.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “I have spoken to senior management at Tesco to highlight our members’ concerns about the use of these fake farm brands. British farming is proud of its high standards and the NFU would be delighted to work with retailers to ensure that customers are given clear and unambiguous information about where their food comes from.”
The Joint Campaign Against Bluetongue roadshows started in Hampshire in June and have been successful in raising the issue of BTV with input from the NFU, BVA, APHA and Pirbright. NFU animal health adviser Rebecca Veale visited the Isle of Wight County Show to raise the awareness of farmers on the island. The roadshow runs for several weeks with a total of 20 events planned to date across the South and Eastern counties. The JAB poster and leaflet are available here.
EU finds more storage
The Commission has yet again agreed to increase the level of intervention storage for skimmed milk powder to 350,000 tonnes from 30 June. The ceiling for butter has been held at 100,000 tonnes, with none having entered the 2016 scheme so far. Alongside this, the NFU is calling for mandatory price reporting to bring more transparency to the EU dairy sector and help develop risk management.
Ahead of the NFU’s extraordinary council meeting in London on 1 July, NFU President Meurig Raymond appeared on BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio5Live to discuss the impact of the EU Referendum result on agriculture. NFU dairy board member Mike Gorton also appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to talk about it, while BBC World News Service discussed it in detail.
Promoting British Ice Cream
The NFU has been working with members across the country who produce ice cream to develop an interactive British ice cream map. The aim is to help guide consumers to buy British ice cream and allow the dairy team to promote messages on the best of British dairy products.
Earlier this year, the European Council gave its approval to a regulation aimed at promoting the consumption of milk, fruit and vegetables in schools, after months of negotiation. The NFU had continually lobbied the UK government to support this scheme and we are pleased to see the final European step towards implementation of the new scheme in August 2017. The NFU is attending a meeting of the School & Nursery Milk Alliance to support school milk going forward.
Retail Support to Dairy Sector
Morrisons will be increasing the range of products under its Milk for Farmers brand. This will include cream, which is sourced through Arla, and butter which it has yet to announce who this will be sourced through. Morrisons has also registered the brand for bacon but as yet no product launches are planned. Morrisons has also de-listed Pilgrims Choice, which now means that all branded cheddar and all own label cheddar (except Canadian cheddar) is now British. Morrisons has also committed to holding its minimum pricing initiative on own label liquid milk indefinitely. This was due to finish in June, however Morrisons has decided to not put an end date on this, and will continue paying a floor price of 26ppl going forward.
Poultry Industry Meeting
In response to Brexit we have organised a member meeting on 8 September at NFU HQ to discuss, debate and formulate our key sector asks and lobbying points ahead of the Autumn Party Conference season in late September/ October. Further details to follow.