Collaborating in dairy


With more than 200 milk buyers of different scale and structure here in the UK there are clearly various levels of farmer representation, from a European co-op (Arla), officially recognised dairy Producer Organisations (Dairy Crest Direct and Direct Milk), producer groups (Muller Milk Group) and more informal groupings.

There are, though, often cases where dairy farmers feel there is no representation at all.

This webpage should provide information to dairy farmers in all the above scenarios – from setting up a producer group right through to understanding how a co-operative functions.

Collaboration through Co-ops

UK co-ops:
From fan owned football clubs to farmer controlled businesses, there are nearly 7,000 independent co-operatives across the UK. Find out more here.

- New programme for agricultural co‑operatives launched (from the Co-operatives UK website, opens in a new window)
- Agricultural Co-operatives in Scotland
-  Corporate Governance Code for agri co-operatives
- Governance Standards for co-ops

Examples of co-operatives

    Collaboration through Producer Groups

    Dairy Crest Direct and Direct Milk
    Dairy Crest Direct (DCD), the independent organisation representing farmers supplying Dairy Crest, is the first EU and UK government approved, Dairy Producer Organisation (DPO) in the UK. DCD represent dairy farms from across England and South Wales who supply milk to Dairy Crest.

    The Dairy Crest Direct DPO will continue to represent farmers in the South West supplying their milk into Dairy Crest's Davidstow Creamery in North Cornwall, producing the leading Cathedral City cheddars and the new de-minerialised whey powder for infant formula.

    In addition, a brand new company 'Direct Milk DPO Ltd' has been established to represent Dairy Crest Direct members transferring from Dairy Crest to Müller. Direct Milk DPO Ltd will represent 660 farmers supplying over 1 billion litres p.a. via standard liquid, liquid formula, organic and the aligned contracts for M&S, Sainsbury's and Waitrose.

    The structures of the evolved DCD at Davidstow and the new Direct Milk will continue to be run along existing lines following the core principles of elected accountability; financial independence and representing members across the supply chain.

    David Herdman chairman of the existing DCD transfers to become the inaugural Chairman of Direct Milk, whilst current DCD Vice Chairman, Stephen Bone will become chairman of DCD at Davidstow.

    - Muller Milk Group:
    - Milk Supply Association:

    Last edited on: 03:02:2016

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