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Stackyard News Mar 06

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MDC must be retained - RABDF levy board response

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The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers has supported recommendations made in the Government's levy board review to retain the Milk Development Council. However it believes vertical integration of MDC and other key organisations within the dairy sector would introduce even greater advantages to the industry in terms of cutting costs and improving efficiencies.

"We are pleased that the Radcliffe Review recommends continuation of dairy farmers' statutory levy to fund MDC and its functions designed to improve farm business performance," says RABDF's chairman, Tim Brigstocke applauding the report for its thoroughness and incisiveness. "We believe that the MDC is doing a good job, it has made commendable progress, it is providing farmers with value for money, and it would be crazy to disrupt its current structure.

"We also believe there is merit in Radcliffe's proposed new umbrella structure bringing together MDC and the other main levy bodies to collect levy and interact with their major stakeholders. This structure would bring cost savings in administration, IT and other resources, however introducing additional layers of bureaucracy runs counter to the general thrust of government policy and is unlikely to lead to significant improvements in efficiency. Furthermore, each levy sector is quite contrasting and individual, and as far as dairying is concerned, we believe a front facing milk levy board is crucial," he explains.

"RABDF's real preference is for greater vertical integration within the dairy sector," he argues. The Association's proposed structure would include MDC, The Dairy Council, The British Cheese Council and Dairy UK as well as RABDF itself. "The Dairy Supply Chain Forum, chaired by Lord Bach, could act as the catalyst to introduce the changes. However we realise that there are many governance issues which need to be resolved in the first instance."

Mr Brigstocke adds: "We have called for a vertically integrated body on a number of occasions simply because we believe a larger organisation representing all sectors would be of benefit to the entire dairy industry. However we cannot depend on the Dairy Supply Chain Forum or Lord Bach to take the lead, it is over to the industry itself."

link RABDF National Dairy Conference
link Nominations sought for RABDF Princess Royal Award
link TB measures too little, too late - RABDF

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