Dairy farmers across the UK are being offered a helping hand by the government which will include a range of measures such as compulsory milk contracts and a £10 million collaboration fund.
Consultation in the coming months will centre on a fund that will work by bringing together and funding those interested in cooperation. The money could be used to establish, develop or expand existing dairy businesses so that farmers and growers can take advantage of new market opportunities. DEFRA believes that greater collaboration between small farmers could bring substantial economic benefits, shared knowledge and joint marketing opportunities.
This announcement was part of a government response to calls for a raft of new measures and rights such as introducing compulsory milk contracts between producers and purchasers to help protect dairy farmers. Using these contracts, farmers and small producers will be able to clearly set out the price for the delivery of milk, timing of deliveries, duration of the contract, payment procedures and arrangements for collecting and delivering milk.
This package of measures is designed to improve transparency and integrity within the food supply chain and to support collaborative business models where producers come together to strengthen their position. Too often in the past dairy farmers have ended up being involved in price wars with processors and there have been too many instances where a lack of transparency in prices and charges by some has undermined the market.
The government considers that a successful farming industry is based upon a properly functioning market where farmers receive a fair share of the value of the food they produce. These measures will be designed with the farming industry and apply to farmers and smaller producers in England and are expected to be brought in later in the year. The collaboration fund will be open for applications later this year.
For more information please contact Frank Smith & Co Solicitors on 01242 801748.