Europe Votes to Strengthen Dairy Farmer Position

NFU Scotland has hailed a European Parliamentary Committee vote on milk contracts as an important step forward in strengthening the negotiating position of all dairy farmers.  

Crucially, the vote also adds strength to the Union’s campaign to have a formula incorporated into every milk contract to ensure that milk prices are calculated in a fairer and more transparent manner.

Europe’s Agriculture committee was voting on a report produced by Northern Ireland MEP Jim Nicholson, in response to recommendations made by Europe’s High Level Group on dairy.   The Nicholson report will now go to plenary in September where all MEPs will vote on the dairy package. Discussions will also be held with the Agriculture Council to seek agreement on a joint text, as any changes to regulations will be subject to new co-decision arrangements that requires agreement by both European Parliament and Council.

NFU Scotland Vice President Allan Bowie said:

“We remain committed to developing compulsory, effective milk contracts underpinned by effective producer negotiation powers and the backing by MEPs for Jim Nicholson’s report takes us one step closer to delivering on our policy.

“The dairy package produced in Europe promises much and we have been lobbying intensively to ensure that it delivers real benefits to grass roots dairy farmers.  Unfortunately, those seeking to weaken the package have included Defra and the time is right for Westminster to stop dragging its heels and look at the positives – such as mandatory contracts and stronger producer organisations - that the dairy package can provide.

“Hiding behind voluntary contracts and toothless codes of practice, as suggested by Defra, will not deliver the sea change in the dairy industry that dairy farmers clearly want.

“Recent producer meetings held by NFU Scotland received unanimous backing for contractual changes between dairy farmers and milk buyers.  That mirrors the desire shown in Europe for compulsory milk contracts that include clauses on market-related prices and pricing mechanisms, milk volumes, delivery schedules and contract length.

“There is a genuine momentum for change in the dairy sector, both at home and in Europe.   We look forward to our ongoing dialogue with other parts of the UK supply chain and in Brussels to identify how the position of producers in that chain can be more fairly represented.”


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006



Date Published:

News Article No.: 117/11

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