Dairy UK has published a briefing for decision makers and opinion formers on CAP Reform and says that the current round of proposals presents a mixed bag of threats and opportunities for the UK dairy industry.

Commenting on the publication of the new Dairy UK Policy Briefing, Director General Jim Begg said: “We are now at the business end of the current round of proposals and in summary they are a mixed bag for our industry.

“The importance of CAP Reform to the United Kingdom dairy industry cannot be overstated. It provides the framework within which the industry, and its competitors, operates. It can act as a brake, or an accelerator, on the sector. It has the potential to encourage, or distort, competition and it can reduce, or create, inequalities.”

Some of the key points made by Dairy UK include:

  • The Commission’s proposals give too much emphasis to winning continued political support for the CAP at the risk of missing an opportunity to address the real challenges of the future.
  • Dairy farmers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be disproportionately affected by a move away from historic payments to flat-rate regional payments.
  • The proposal for capping payments will act as a brake on industry restructuring and should be withdrawn.
  • Environmental measures are best delivered through targeted initiatives.
  • If the Commission’s proposals for greening are to be taken forward they need to be significantly amended to make them practical and deliverable.
  • Coupled payments, which link aid to production, could provide short term transitional support but they should be time limited to prevent distortion to competition.
  • The CAP must continue to provide an effective safety net for addressing extremes of downward price volatility.
  • The UK’s share of Rural Development funds needs to be increased to address the historic shortfall in the UK’s allocation.

Begg continued: “The Policy Briefing sets out our views, but we’re also interested in the opinions of other stakeholders, so we hope that this document acts as a catalyst for feedback and debate.”




Dairy UK (NI) and the Ulster Farmers’ Union have agreed a voluntary Code of Practice for contractual relationships between suppliers and purchasers of milk in Northern Ireland. This voluntary Code is based on a similar Code that was developed and agreed by the industry in Great Britain as part of the outworking of the EU Dairy Package. In developing this Code both Dairy UK (NI) and UFU were mindful of the need to reflect the local circumstances in Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the Northern Ireland document, Dairy UK (NI) Director Dr Mike Johnston said, “Agreement of this voluntary Code of Practice for NI means that an important element of the EU Dairy Package, namely contractual relationships between suppliers and purchasers of milk, has now been addressed within the UK as a whole. And just as important, it has been achieved by the dairy supply chain working on a co-operative, voluntary basis rather than through a legislative approach by Government.”

Speaking on behalf of the UFU, Deputy President Ian Marshall said “This is a first yet significant step for the Northern Ireland Dairy Industry. By setting out good practice for contracts between producers and processors, the Voluntary Code aims to improve trust and transparency between producers and processors. The expectation is that the Voluntary Code will work alongside the recommendations of Agri-Food Strategy Board, ensuring that our dairy industry is able to adapt and grow whilst meeting the challenges ahead.”


Notes for Editors: As in Great Britain, final implementation of the voluntary code of practice will be subject to legal approval.

Contacts for further information:

Dr Mike Johnston, Dairy UK (NI) Director: tel 02890 770116, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Dairy UK is disappointed at the postponement of the badger cull trials.

A pragmatic, science based approach to tackling Bovine TB remains the correct approach and it is frustrating for all involved that the pilots cannot go ahead effectively at this stage. We support efforts to ensure the pilots proceed at the earliest opportunity.

Healthy dairy cows and a healthy badger population is the objective in seeking to eradicate Bovine TB.




The UK dairy industry is now positively addressing the issue of Johne’s disease in cattle. This is a direct result of progress in awareness and understanding of the disease over the course of the last two years.

Speaking at the Dairy UK/DairyCo Johne’s Disease Conference in Worcester today, Dairy UK Technical Director Ed Komorowski said: “Almost one quarter of dairy herds in GB have now engaged in a Johne’s management programme, which is an enormous step forward on where we were two years ago. Dr Komorowski explained that there had been huge strides made in measuring the prevalence and economic importance of the disease.

“We can now quantify, based on a large number of test results, the reduction in milk yield, the effect on somatic cell counts, increased infertility and premature culling resulting from Johne’s disease in the dairy herd” he said.

“The challenge for the industry now is to establish and implement farm management procedures which take Johne’s into account. These need to cost effective and robust enough to make an impact” said Komorowski. “Doing nothing is not an option, because the situation will only deteriorate. What is required is a long term commitment.”




Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg described today’s publication of the industry Voluntary Code of Best Practice on Contractual Arrangements as a landmark event.

“The Code should give dairy farmers confidence in their contractual arrangements and enable dairy farmers and processors to develop deeper relationships of trust and mutual understanding”, said Begg. “We now expect publication of the Code to avoid regulation of farm contracts, which nobody wanted, and that Defra and the devolved administrations will recognise this when they consult on the implementation of the Dairy Package.”

Mr Begg went on to explain that publication of the Code has been delayed slightly in order to secure the necessary legal clearance, “but we have already communicated the contents of the Code down through our membership in a series of briefing meetings. It’s now up to individual dairy companies to take the Code forward with their supplying farmers.

“The focus for Dairy UK is now very firmly on the arrangements for implementing Producer Organisations in the UK. This is also an important part of the Dairy Package. It is vital for everyone in the supply chain that the industry adopts the right approach in the setting up and operation of Producer Organisations. As with the Voluntary Code, this is another area where best results will be achieved through discussions across the supply chain. We would be very happy to work with the farming unions in preparation for and after the Government consultation.”




Twenty-five dairy technologists have graduated with a brand new Eden Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology.

This specialised, world class degree has been developed by the dairy industry, working through Dairy UK, the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink and Reaseheath College. It has been designed to address specific skills shortages, and to enable the UK industry to be at the cutting edge of hi-tech dairy processing and manufacturing.

A £5 million purpose-built dairy training centre was established at Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, to ensure that the students receive world class theoretical and practical training.

Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg commented, “The graduation of the first Eden students marks a special day for the dairy industry. These students have worked hard on what was created to be the best dairy course anywhere in the world. They can now play an important part in developing the UK’s highly efficient and globally competitive dairy industry. We congratulate them on their achievement, and hope they will inspire fellow Eden students for years to come”.

The 25 graduates are all employees of Arla Foods, Dairy Crest, First Milk, Milk Link, Muller Dairies and Robert Wiseman Dairies and throughout their three year degree programme have been applying their knowledge and learnings to improve activities in dairy factories across the UK.

Dave Kynaston, Vice Principal of Reaseheath College, said: “The inaugural graduation of Eden Dairy Technologists represents a milestone for the industry. A significant part of their success has been achieved through the partnership between Reaseheath College as the training provider and the major dairy processors. We wish all the graduates continued success within their companies.”

Justine Fosh, Executive Director of the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, added: “This is an exceptionally important landmark in the future development of the UK dairy industry. We congratulate every single graduate on their hard work and are honoured to have played our part in ensuring businesses now have access to new recruits with exactly the right skills to drive further growth and innovation in an industry transformed by new technology, new processes and increased automation.

"These graduates are the first of the best – with many more to come in future years.”






Dairy UK has published guidance for milk and dairy product manufacturers which will provide clear and unambiguous advice to consumers on date marking.


The guidance builds on work by Defra which covers all foods and provides specific application for dairy products. The guidance aims to reduce food wastage in the home without compromising on food safety and quality.


Ed Komorowski, Dairy UK Technical Director explains: “It’s important that we do this for the dairy industry, because our products are found in more than 98% of homes. They are therefore an integral part of most people’s lives. So clearly we need to ensure that they are appropriately date marked.


“In addition, to make sure that they are kept in the best possible condition, our guidance also makes recommendations around the optimum storage conditions for both the unopened and open products.”


WRAP's Consumer Food Waste Prevention Programme Manager, Andrew Parry said: “Improvements in the clarity and consistency of date labelling and storage guidance can help consumers reduce the amount of food thrown away. We welcome this guidance and hope this will enable the dairy sector to build on the good progress already made”


WRAP’s research shows that there is a need for more information on how long dairy products can be consumed after opening, and what can be frozen. A Decision Tree for freezing guidance, developed by WRAP, in conjunction with the FSA, has also been included as an appendix to the Dairy UK publication.





Neil Kennedy, Milk Link Chief Executive, has today been elected to succeed Robert Wiseman as the new Chairman of Dairy UK. Mr Wiseman has completed his two year period of office. Speaking after his election, Mr Kennedy said: “I am honoured to have been elected to succeed Robert Wiseman as Chairman of Dairy UK at what is a watershed time for our industry.

“Economic recession and a major downturn in world commodity markets have combined recently to produce difficult times for both dairy farmers and dairy processors alike. Throughout this period Robert has provided empathetic and astute leadership, which has been to the immense benefit of both Dairy UK and the wider dairy industry.

“As a market driven industry, volatility is here to stay. It will be how we work together as an industry to understand and address that volatility that will determine the sustainability of dairy farming and processing businesses going forwards. In this respect, the recent agreement on the voluntary code was an enormous step forward.

“I do hope that we can build on this because, whilst the underlying prospects for our industry are undoubtedly good – with dedicated dairy farmers, climatic advantages for milk production, and a processing sector which is benefitting from major investment to make it more competitive – we are going to need to see more examples of co-operation and collaboration if we are to make the most of these positive trends and opportunities.”

Mark Allen, Chief Executive of Dairy Crest and Kate Allum, Chief Executive of First Milk, were elected as Dairy UK Vice Chairmen. Billy Keane, Managing Director of Robert Wiseman Dairies, was elected Honorary Treasurer.



The 2012 Dairy UK Award has been awarded to Rex Ward in recognition of his passionate advocacy of the interests of UK dairy farmers and of the wider UK dairy industry.

A founder member and subsequently Farmer Director and Vice Chairman of Milk Link, Mr Ward is currently Chairman of Dairy UK’s Farmers Forum. He also sits on the Board of Dairy UK and is a director of Cornwall Farmers.

In presenting Mr Ward with his award, Dairy UK Vice Chairman Neil Kennedy said: “For the last two years Rex has chaired Dairy UK’s Farmers’ Forum. In this capacity he has taken on a number of high profile activities and done so with great credit. His modest demeanour belies an ability to focus on the important issues. This is backed up by a comprehensive top to bottom knowledge and understanding of the dairy industry.

“Not only has Rex represented the interests of dairy farmers on the Board of Dairy UK, but he has also presented evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee and other MP meetings, he has participated in the negotiations on the voluntary code of practice and he has chaired a number of major industry conferences.”

The award was made at the Dairy UK conference dinner held at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Birmingham on 3rd September.



Dairy UK, the NFU and the NFUS have reached agreement on a voluntary code of best practice on contractual relationships between milk buyers and dairy farmers.


Commenting on the landmark agreement Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg said: “I am delighted that Dairy UK, on behalf of its members, has been able to reach agreement with the farming unions on the voluntary code. This important initiative builds upon existing arrangements, which give farmers and processors security in business relationships, whilst adding additional safeguards that will assure farmers that their contracts are not putting them at a disadvantage in the marketplace.


“The code should also enable dairy farmers and processors to build relationships of trust and mutual understanding. Only on this basis can the industry create the added value that will protect it from price volatility. We would hope that the spirit of co-operation that has resulted in this agreement can be carried forward into the future.”


Mansel Raymond NFU Dairy Board Chairman commented: “This code is the culmination of many months of hard work by all parties. The NFU has championed the cause of improving dairy contracts and we are now very pleased to be launching this code of best practice. Farmers need equitable and trusting relationships with their milk buyers and this can only be achieved by putting in place fair and transparent milk supply contracts.


“In line with the Coalition's 10 point plan we will be working with farmers and processors to see the many beneficial terms of this code translated into beneficial terms in milk supply contracts. Getting this code agreed is the right footing to move forward with the industry on a robust and ambitious strategy for the dairy sector, which is a priority for us.”


Rory Christie, Vice Chairman of the NFUS Milk Committee went on to comment: “This code of best practice is highly significant, it is about British dairy farmers working together with British dairy processors to improve the industry. Individually farmers can be weak, but the NFUS believe that dairy farmers working together can achieve a great deal and we will be continuing this collaborative effort as we work to ensure the code is implemented in the best way for our dairy members.


"We're pleased to have taken this project across the line and thank all concerned.”


Dairy UK Statement on Dairy Summit

There can be no doubt that the meeting clearly demonstrated the strength of feeling amongst milk producers at the moment. Dairy farmers’ frustrations are wholly understandable. The recent price cuts are regrettable, but we have to remember that industry pricing is market driven and that it is to the market that we must look for solutions.

Forecast demand growth for milk and dairy products is very positive, so the last thing that that the dairy industry needs right now is any restriction in its supply base.

As the Minister said earlier today, the discussions on the voluntary code have undoubtedly made significant progress and Dairy UK is fully committed to seeing these through to a conclusion as quickly as possible. The many advantages of agreeing a voluntary code are fully understood and will go a long way towards addressing the concerns that have been expressed by dairy farmers today.

The current situation is extremely frustrating for everyone involved in the dairy industry, but we have to accept that the UK industry operates in a globalised market environment that is enormously volatile and we cannot insulate ourselves from world market trends.


Wiseman praises resilience of British dairy

Speaking at Dairy UK's Annual Dairy Dinner in London, Dairy UK Chairman Robert Wiseman said: "No industry can rest on its laurels and I know the dairy industry has the determination, resilience, skill and innovation to rise to the many challenges we encounter. We are in for the long haul and are unwavering in our commitment to give the public nothing but the best of British dairy.

"The future growth prospects for our £10 billion industry, on the back of rising demand and a growing global population, are outstanding."

Mr Wiseman said the UK industry was preparing well for the future. He said: "In the first place, consumers love our products – in all their various forms – with something to suit everybody's tastes and dietary requirements.

"We are also an important industry given the number of people we employ in rural communities and the countryside. "Like many other sectors we have to pedal even harder in an acutely challenging economic climate. We continually strive to succeed. The industry is in a better place than it was 12 months ago."

He said both farmers and processors, more than ever before, have a clear focus on competitiveness and a clear understanding that margins are more important than price.

"Markets are tough. Markets are also volatile. Combined with a generally harsh economic climate, this has resulted in recent reductions in the prices paid to dairy farmers. They have fallen back from the record levels that they had reached earlier in the year.

"This is very regrettable, but with increased exposure to world markets, and a reduction in protection afforded by the CAP, this volatility is inevitable, and it will not go away.

"The message from all informed industry observers is that there will be greater opportunities in dairy that probably any other agricultural sector, and that the UK dairy industry has the capability to compete and prosper. This is what we must bear in mind when thinking about the future."



Dairy UK today published "The White Paper 2012" – a report on the UK dairy industry.

The report reveals:

  • 99% of people regularly consumed milk and dairy products (up from 96% in 2010).
  • 96% regularly drank fresh milk (up from 94% in 2010)
  • 95% regularly ate cheese (up from 90% in 2010).

Liquid milk, cheese and fresh product markets continue to grow. Kantar Worldpanel estimates the UK dairy market to be worth £10.12 billion annually, accounting for 12.4% of food and drink sales.

The UK is the third largest milk producer in the EU and the ninth largest in the world.

Milk production continues to rise and UK dairy companies more than match their EU competitors' investment in product innovation. Annual capital expenditure by the UK's major dairy companies has soared to £210 million.

Dairy UK Chairman Robert Wiseman said that the industry was on the threshold of major structural change, driven by the continuing deregulation of EU legislative regimes.

"All the evidence suggests that we are preparing for the future in the right way", said Mr Wiseman. "We are investing in competitiveness, through rationalisation and the attainment of scale – right across the supply chain. We are securing stronger international links, and our product profile is changing to allow us to exploit the opportunities which, increasingly, the free market will provide for us.

"We anticipate new trading relationships emerging from developments, such as the EU Dairy Package, and we are working as an industry to see how these can be implemented in our best interests."


Begg calls for labelling framework

Addressing the All Party Parliamentary Cheese Group at a reception in London last night, Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg urged the Government to support a labelling framework that would allow the industry to respond to changing consumer demands.

"Although we have some of the best cheeses in the world in our current portfolio, more than 700 of them in fact", said Begg, "we are constantly developing new products, and variations to traditional products, in response to consumer demand. And it will be our ability to respond to changing consumer preferences that will be pretty fundamental to our ongoing success.

"What this industry needs from Government is a benign legal environment that allows us to respond to the consumer. As we go forward through issues such as the European Regulation on Nutritional and Health Claims, and the Food Information Regulation, we want to avoid restrictive labelling laws hindering product innovation and development, whilst maintaining traditional varieties."

Begg also stressed the opportunities for the industry to share in the long term growth in global demand for dairy products, predicted by analysts to be around two and a half per cent annually in the next 5 years.

"Most of this growth will be in the east" said Begg, "particularly China, where growth of five per cent is forecast. In the European Union, and the western economies, it's going to be tougher, but our products remain hugely popular with consumers and growth is our objective."



The UK dairy processing industry has reduced its carbon emissions by an impressive 28%, or nearly 75,000 tonnes a year, since 2000.

Data collected by Dairy Energy Savings (DES), which runs the dairy sector Climate Change Agreement (CCA), also shows that in the last 12 months alone, UK dairy processors have achieved a significant 2% reduction in carbon emissions and a 2% improvement in energy efficiency.

DES Chairman Gerry Sweeney said: "The CCA has been a great success and these results show yet again that the scheme continues to drive improvement in the dairy sector."

Mr Sweeney continued: "Whichever way you look at it, a 28% reduction in annual emissions is an enormous achievement. These latest figures show that the industry continues to take its environmental responsibilities very seriously and is maintaining momentum in pushing for further improvements."

Commenting on the Government's decision to extend the CCA scheme, Mr Sweeney said: "This is good news for the industry and good news for the environment. Whilst some details of the scheme are still under review, I feel confident that we will see a scheme that can provide a catalyst to further improvements, whilst leaving the industry with the flexibility to invest."

Energy improvements in the processing sector echo the wider commitment and achievement of the dairy industry, which continues to work on sustainability initiatives such as the Dairy Roadmap, Dairy 2020, DEFRA's Green Food Project and the International Dairy Federation's Global Dairy Agenda for Action.

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