Union to host 4 ‘must-attend’ events on the future of Scottish dairying

Scottish dairy farmers are being urged to attend one of a series of meetings considering the future of dairy farming in Scotland being held in early July.

The must-attend meetings, being held are in anticipation of the UK Government’s consultation on the regulation of contracts between dairy farmers and processors.

The consultation is likely to be the most significant for the industry since the deregulation of the milk industry 25 years ago.

Government has acknowledged that there is a need to improve stability in the dairy supply chain by addressing bargaining power, contract terms such as exclusivity, trust and transparency.

The seminars, which are open to all, will help inform farmers and other stakeholders of the potential for change in the dairy sector and will be led by well-informed experts from NFU Scotland, NFU England and Wales, AHDB and Scottish Government.

The meetings will take place on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, July 3: 11:00am to 1:00pm: Green Hotel, Kinross;
  • Wednesday, July 3: 7:00pm to 9:00pm: Glen Garioch Room, Thainstone;
  • Thursday, July 4: 11:00am to 1:00pm: Ernespie House Hotel, Castle Douglas;
  • Thursday, July 4: 7:00pm to 9:00pm: Normandy Hotel, Inchinnan Road, Renfrew.

The seminars will include an objective discussion based on independent research to help farmers better understand the aims of the Government review and consultation and feature contributions from AHDB, Scottish Government and NFU.

NFU Scotland vice president Martin Kennedy said: “This is the start of the most important conversation with dairy farmers and other stakeholders in a quarter of a century.

“UK farming unions have a strong desire to work with farmers, processors and retailers to develop the type of relationships which will drive fairness, efficiency and competitiveness in the UK dairy sector, making it fit for purpose for decades to come.

The voluntary code on milk contracts, agreed in 2012, covering dairy contracts, has disappointingly fallen short of expectations. The Government now sees a need for some form of statutory requirement to secure more equitable, progressive contracts between farmer and processor.

“These seminars are the beginning of an ongoing discussion to agree on what an effective milk contract should cover and how this is agreed.

“I urge every dairy farmer in Scotland, where possible, to get involved and feed in their views. It’s your industry and it’s your future.”