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Stackyard News Dec 2011

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NFUS Dairy Drive to Continue in 2012

NFU Scotland will press the UK Government and wider dairy industry to deliver a meaningful code of practice for the sector in 2012 as it looks to build on the momentum it has created around milk in the past 12 months.


dairy cow

In a dynamic year for dairy, the Union has delivered a pricing formula proposal for milk contracts, been heavily engaged in European discussions around its recent dairy package and worked with UK and overseas milk buyers in growing the markets for Scottish milk and dairy products.

While farmgate prices have improved, GB prices still trail behind the rest of Europe and lag behind where the real market is for milk and dairy products. That makes 2012 a crucial year for Scotland’s dairy farmers.

NFU Scotland Vice President Allan Bowie said:

“The past 12 months has seen NFU Scotland build a positive package for the nation’s dairy farmers that we will be pushing hard to deliver in the next year.

“Scotland has a fantastic story to tell on dairy. We have some of the most efficient producers in Europe, compact milk fields that are attractive to milk processors and we can take credit for generating interest and investment in the Scottish dairy sector in recent times.

“This year also saw significant producer momentum build up behind an NFUS initiative to improve milk contracts. That all started in the spring when a milk pricing proposal developed in conjunction with representatives of all milk producer groups in Scotland, was given unanimous backing by the nation’s dairy farmers at meetings around the country. That proposal has since been widely discussed with other dairy farmers in GB, fellow farming unions, milk processors and retailers.

“We remain hopeful that our proposal to have milk contracts in the future include a transparent pricing formula will be a key element of the code of practice proposed by Defra and currently under discussion. Europe recently copped out of backing compulsory contracts for milk producers, and it is now largely up to Member States discretion to decide where milk contracts go from here. We will seek to ensure that both Defra and Scottish Government consult on the issue of contracts in the New Year.

“In contrast, Europe’s backing for producer organisations capable of holding up to 33 percent of a nation’s production does provide a useful platform for strengthening the hand of producer groups if required. Collaboration is preferred, but in the absence of meaningful negotiations the ability to create producer organisations may be a useful tool for producers.

“We are also committed to encouraging the Scottish processing sector to grow, innovate, export and invest in more than just liquid milk. We have a huge opportunity at this moment in time to tap into growing world demand for dairy products. As well as working with dairy farmer co-operatives and processors, we want to explore if there is a role for an umbrella organisation such as Scotland Food and Drink in establishing a dairy strategy for Scotland that drives forward the huge potential for Scottish milk and dairy products.”

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