NFU dairy board strategy and priorities

Published 27 July 2021

Dairy cows World Milk Day _34816

The NFU dairy board, chaired by Michael Oakes, has put together its strategy and priorities for the next two years.

This page sets out the strategy and priorities of the board as well as highlighting some of the lobbying successes we've achieved on behalf of our membership during 2020 and 2021.

♦ See who sits on the NFU's national dairy board: Meet the Dairy Board

NFU national dairy board priorities 2021-23

Building a resilient, sustainable business environment

  • Work to improve fairness in the dairy supply chain through the Dairy Contracts Code.
  • Improve producer representation and farmer engagement in supply chain.
  • Ensure a favourable regulatory environment for dairy farmers, in order to help them thrive.

Promoting and growing opportunities for dairy at home and abroad

  • Develop and support a comprehensive export strategy for British dairy.
  • Promote the interests of the British dairy sector in new trading arrangements.
  • Work to promote the interests of British dairy in retail, foodservice and public procurement.
  • Support the provision of domestic infrastructure and create an investment environment which underpins British dairy produce.

Protecting, upholding and promoting the reputation of the British dairy sector

  • Lead the industry’s response to the environmental challenges we face through the Dairy Roadmap.
  • Work to address the major reputational risk issues we face through collaboration, such as the GB Dairy Calf Strategy.
  • Represent the dairy sector in work to improve our assurance schemes.
  • Work collaboratively to ensure we promote the best of the British dairy sector in the press and media.

Delivering for dairy farmers in 2020 and 2021

You can read about some of the recent successes the NFU Dairy team has achieved on behalf of members during 2020 and 2021 below. This work has been delivered through the lobbying and commitment of our board members and team.

Mandatory Code of Conduct for dairy contracts

After many years of NFU lobbying to improve fairness for farmers in the dairy supply chain, ministers have announced plans for a mandatory Contracts Code of Conduct which the NFU will support the development of, to ensure that it delivers for dairy farmers.

Dairy export strategy

We have developed a Dairy Export Strategy as a lobbying and engagement tool. The strategy contains key government and industry asks to capitalise on the opportunities identified for dairy exports and future trade deals, now that the UK has left the European Union.

Assurance standards

The NFU dairy board Red Tractor representatives ensured members' views were heard through the Red Tractor 2021 Standards Review and have ensured a practical, auditable and purposeful new set of standards which are outcome-based and do not unnecessarily burden our members with administration or cost.

Read more: Red Tractor agrees new standards following consultation

GB Dairy Calf Strategy

The team has worked hard to develop the GB Dairy Calf Strategy to engage industry in producing viable calves, as well as the development of viable markets for these calves into the beef supply chain, and composing key asks to widen bio-secure routes for calves from TB-restricted herds.

Combatting myths about the dairy sector

We developed the 'Rethinking Ruminants' toolkit for members. A directory of facts and figures as well as infographics and a public-facing booklet, it is designed to help dispel myths about all aspects of the dairy sector, including welfare, health, nutrition and the environment.

Developing a practical Clean Air Strategy

The dairy team continues to work closely with the Environment Agency, Defra and industry to lead the development of a Clean Air Strategy and approach to ammonia mitigation on farm that works practically for our members and does not add undue cost or regulation to dairy farm businesses.

Domestic school milk scheme

We have supported the continuation of domestic School and Nursery Milk Schemes and will continue to feed in to the development of these schemes, asking for the scope to be widened to an increasing amount of children, schools and nurseries, so that all children can continue to enjoy the benefits of dairy products.

Read more: NFU responds to DHSC call for evidence on school milk schemes

Positive press

The NFU press office operates 365 days a year and strives to counteract negative news about dairy farming to tell the positive side of the story. For example, NFU dairy board chair Michael Oakes, as well as other dairy farmer members featured on the BBC's Countryfile programme during the Coronavirus pandemic to discuss the dairy sector perspective. In addition to this, the NFU's dairy team continues to work on promotional campaign work with AHDB and wider industry.

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