The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers has welcomed support for the industry expressed both by Defra Minister, Hilary Benn and his shadow, Nick Herbert in keynote speeches made today, 5 January, at the Oxford Farming Conference.
“We wholeheartedly welcome Government’s Food 2030 blueprint document and its proposals, particularly for reduced red tape, improved supply chain relationships and unambiguous country of origin labelling on all dairy products,” commented RABDF policy and technical advisor, Tom Rabbetts. “This document states we need to think differently about food production which starts within the farm gate, therefore Government needs to instil confidence in farmers as never before through practical commitment to R&D and training and reducing the regulatory burden. This will enable farmers to focus on using their skills and resources to do what they’re best at - producing food.”
Shadow Defra minister, Nick Herbert’s proposal to introduce a supermarket Ombudsman in the event of a Conservative government was also welcomed by the Association. “We have appealed on several occasions to the current government to go one step further and introduce an Ofmilk to bring greater transparency in the dairy supply chain, however our voice has consistently met a deaf response,” said Mr Rabbetts. “The Competition Commissions recommendations should be implemented at the earliest whichever ruling party; there must be a body given the power to investigate supply chain relationships.
“An ombudsman will ensure no single operator in the chain has a competitive disadvantage and equally important that farmers receive a fair price to stem further fall out and decline in production, as well as ensuring they can implement further practices with minimal environmental impact. British Dairy farmers are already working to the government’s strategy and have the natural resources available to them to ensure the security of high quality dairy products well beyond 2030.”
He adds: “We’re proud of the fact that British dairy farmers are already setting the standard when it comes to meeting with key goals laid out in the Food 2030 strategy. They are exemplary in producing milk efficiently, sustainably and safely to high animal welfare standards, and the dairy sector is in the driving seat when it comes to reducing the carbon footprint having established the Milk Roadmap which aims to reduce the environmental impacts of producing and consuming liquid milk.”
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