UK farming unions urge dairy farmers to speak up for fair contract terms

The four UK farming unions are today urging all dairy farmers to engage with the forthcoming government consultation on dairy contracts to make their voice heard and speak up for a more effective dairy supply chain, with fairer terms for farmers.

The organisations have today reiterated their support for regulated contract terms for dairy farmers and will be extensively consulting with their members when the consultation is issued, in an effort to rebalance where the risk currently sits within the dairy supply chain.

In a joint statement, the dairy farmer representatives of the four UK farming unions1 said: “For too long, dairy farmers have shouldered too much of the risk in the dairy market and in many cases have been subject to unfair contract terms and trading practices. As outlined in the GCA review published in February, there is clearly an imbalance of power within the dairy supply chain.

“As we await the Government’s consultation on dairy contracts to be issued, in order for us to understand the proposals in full, we are using this time to consult with our members extensively. We want to understand their views on dairy contracts and our final responses to that consultation will reflect our members’ views. We are all keen to constructively engage with industry and Government to deliver the improvements we all want to see.

“Together, we want to see flexible and innovative regulation that delivers fair terms for farmers and an equitable balancing of risk between farmers and buyers. We have been exploring a range of legal mechanisms to achieve this, including looking at Common Market Organisation (CMO) legislation as well as other legal powers that the government might use to achieve effective regulation.

“As we leave the EU, the UK dairy market needs to be fit for purpose; commercially focused, innovative and competitive. It is vital that we have a properly operating dairy market where risk is shared across the supply chain.

“Dairy farmers need to be in a strong position to develop professional and sustainable relationships with their buyers, while operating to fair trading terms.”


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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.