The NFU has written to all dairy farmer members to explain the background behind the Government’s proposal to regulate milk contracts and to set out the NFU’s current position.
In February this year, Defra announced that it will be regulating on milk contracts in 2018. Ensuring dairy farmers receive contracts which are fair and fit for purpose has been a key lobbying priority for the NFU Dairy Board for a number of years. In 2012 the NFU played a critical part in putting together the Dairy Contracts Voluntary Code of Practice alongside NFU Scotland and Dairy UK.
Six years on, while some milk buyers have made strides towards fairer contracts, bad practice is still commonplace and change is required to ensure all milk contracts are fair and balanced. This catches all milk buyers.
The NFU has welcomed the opportunity to regulate on dairy contracts and in the letter to members NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes sets out a number of ways the NFU believes Defra can use this regulation “in a flexible and positive way, with clauses that deliver fair and equitable contract terms and stop many of the ills that we’ve seen in recent years.”
He writes: “As we leave the EU, the UK dairy market needs to be commercially focused, innovative and competitive. It’s time for buyers to look to the future, operate as commercial businesses and deal with farmers fairly. We are now developing our thinking on the issue and want to talk to you our members, as well as other stakeholders to collect more views on how we take this forward.”
You can view the full letter here.
If you wish to respond to the letter please contact your local NFU office or your Regional Dairy Chairman to make sure your views are heard.