Milk contracts a key policy issue for new NFUS dairy committee

The new look National Farmers’ Union Scotland’s (NFUS) milk committee has met to discuss a wide range of issues including Brexit and product promotion. But the single most important matter in focus was that of milk contract regulation.

Milk chairman John Smith was joined by newly elected vice chairman Gary Mitchell, milk policy manager Stuart Martin and policy manager George Jamieson, to welcome all the new and returning members of the committee and to tackle the pressing topics facing the industry.

With the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the devolved governments set to consult on contract regulation in the summer, the milk committee has set high importance on the subject of milk contracts and the positive impact it could have for members.

The NFUS believes contract terms including pricing mechanisms, volumes, exclusivity, duration, termination, variations and dispute resolution must be agreed and freely negotiated, not imposed. The consultation will seek opinions on how to sensibly achieve this.

In order for the union to answer this consultation robustly, and to be fully representative of members’ views, it will be looking to host a serious of roadshows for dairy farmers off the back of the consultation.

Full details of the roadshows will be made available following on from the consultation being released, as NFUS seeks to get a full view of as many opinions from dairy members across all the regions.

As the discussion of milk contracts move forward it is important that NFU Scotland is at the very heart of any decisions being made and that we are fully representing our members.

Smith said: “Mandatory milk contracts could have a hugely beneficial impact on dairy farmers throughout the country and I believe this is something we, as a union, need to push for if we are to improve the marketplace for our members, in collaboration with our milk purchasers.

“The roadshows are going to be a fantastic opportunity for us to get out into all the regions and have an open dialogue with dairy farmers. It is important that we are continuously updating members as well receiving feedback from them.”