STRANRAER-based cheese-maker Fresh Milk Company (Lactalis) has agreed a collaborative approach to milk pricing and volume management with the producer organisation Milk Supply Association (MSA) that includes a commitment to an agreed minimum price of 27.5p per litre (ppl) throughout the whole of 2017.
Welcoming the deal, Rory Christie, chairman of MSA said: “The company has done it to secure its milk supply and give much-needed certainty to its farmers. This is a minimum price and there is a mechanism to raise it.”
Also welcoming the agreement, NFU Scotland’s milk policy manager George Jamieson stressed that this minimum price can rise if a market-related basket of prices goes above the 27.5ppl within agreed tolerances. In addition, Lactalis and MSA will agree production profiling and volume targets.
Mr Jamieson said: “The real headline is that this was a negotiated and agreed settlement.
“Looking at the dairy market futures price predictions, it appears to be both fair and reasonable and the ‘basket’ agreement should allow producers some confidence going forward into 2017. There is a baseline determined by good market analysis which could still rise with the market.
“The MSA and FMC deserve great credit for agreeing a deal that suits both parties and offers clarity on prices over a significant period of time. It is a deal that makes real efforts to balance production to the demands of the company, and has been negotiated in collaboration with producers.”
Meanwhile, British beef producers are a step closer to exporting their meat to China, following a vote of confidence from inspectors.
Last month, for the first time, Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) hosted a delegation of Chinese officials at a beef farm and abattoir in Surrey to show at first hand our high levels of animal welfare and disease control measures.
The visit, which included a meeting with the APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency), was part of an ambitious plan to open exports of British beef to China – opening this lucrative market for British farmers and giving a massive boost to the industry.
The products in demand in China include quality cuts and, with a growing middle-income population, China’s consumption of beef has increased and it imported a total of £1.5 billion worth last year – double the amount imported in 2014.
Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom, who visited China earlier this week, said: “There are fantastic opportunities for our farmers and producers – with exports reaching £200 million for the first half of this year already.”
Source: Rog Wood