Working For A Milk Pricing Change

SCOTLAND - National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) is continuing to build on the clear mandate given to it by dairy producers on the need for significant changes to milk pricing and contractual arrangements in the dairy industry.
calendar icon 24 June 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

In May 2011, more than five hundred dairy producers, accounting for the majority of the milk produced in Scotland, attended open meetings around the country and gave their backing to the principles of introducing transparent, market related pricing mechanisms into all dairy contracts between producer and milk buyer. 

Since May, NFUS has engaged in an ongoing series of closed meetings involving other farming Unions, other UK dairy farmers, milk purchasers and retailers.  The most recent of those meetings was held at the Rural Centre, Ingliston on Wednesday when NFUS met with dairy farming representatives from NFU England and Wales and the Ulster Farmers Union. 

NFUS Vice President Allan Bowie, speaking from the 2011 Highland Show at Ingliston, near Edinburgh, said: “Momentum is building across the UK for a radical overhaul of dairy supply relationships. We have had very constructive talks with our fellow farming Unions in the past 24 hours and we look forward to working with them on behalf of all dairy farmers in the coming weeks and months." 

“Here in Scotland, dairy farmers have given their unanimous backing to a market orientated alternative to current milk pricing that would end years of severe instability. Poor returns from producing milk has been the driving factor behind more than 1000 dairy businesses choosing to leave the industry in Scotland in the past 12 years." 

“In May, we agreed to take this message to every processor and retailer. That process is almost complete. We have been delivering a clear message that we will work with all of them to realise the ambitions of both producers and processors but with the understanding that the status quo with regards to how the current supply chain operates is not an option." 

“The discussions have been held out of the public domain and will continue to be kept private for the coming weeks. However, we have made it plain to all milk buyers and retailers that the days of quick wins on milk are over and we must work together to get a long-term solution."   

“There are signs that a more positive engagement between producers, their representatives and milk buyers is taking place. There are recent examples of producer group empowerment delivering results in price negotiations and news of new groups of producers looking to formalise their representation to improve their position." 

“We cannot wait for months for this situation to be resolved. By September, we will have given milk buyers adequate opportunity to consider our proposal. We will have platform at the Dairy Event on the sixth of September, and we will be inviting all parties to come and meet with us at that event for further discussions on the proposal."   

“If the supply chain fails to grasp this opportunity to create a more sustainable milk market then we will continue to explore solutions proposed by Europe around more robust milk contracts and stronger producer organisations. The EU proposals are helpfully gathering strength, and in their own right, could deliver a stronger negotiating position for dairy farmers and ultimately generate a fairer milk price,” Mr Bowie concluded. 

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