The dairy farmer coalition – including the NFU – has echoed calls by Farmers for Action for farmers to receive at least the cost of production for their milk.

The move came as dairy farmers today unveiled a new 10-point strategy for their fight against milk price cuts and follows a letter sent by the FFA to all processors calling for COP recovery.

NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond said the coalition believed all farmers should receive a “fair and sustainable” milk price – “one which at least covers their costs to produce milk”.

“What is very clear is that the dairy market has failed,” Raymond added. “Market highs have not been passed down to the farmgate.

“We need to see all milk buyers developing their own appropriate and transparent milk procurement and pricing models that are equitable for all parties and cover farmers’ production costs.”

As reported by, the FFA letter sparked concerns about price fixing among processors, with some receiving legal advice not to respond to the letter at all.

New strategy
The new coalition strategy will focus on three main areas – “exposing bad practices”, “redefining and empowering the farmers’ role in the supply chain” and “ensuring the supply chain is transparent and fair”.

The campaign has to date focused primarily on the liquid milk market. But farmers now plan to increase pressure on the cheese side. “In particular, the coalition has committed to campaigning to promote UK cheese and calling for own-label supermarket cheese to be British,” the NFU said.

The 10 points of the coalition’s new strategy are:

  • expose those whose damaging behaviour undermines the liquid milk market;
  • work with milk buyer farmer representatives to ensure representation is professional, independent and democratic;
  • set out a roadmap on producer organisations;
  • finalise the code of practice on dairy contracts;
  • develop a monitoring process for how the code of practice is implemented;
  • encourage all milk buyers to develop procurement and pricing models that cover farmers’ production costs;
  • expose bad practice or non-compliance with the code of practice through a whistleblower system;
  • campaign to promote British cheese and other dairy products to retailers and consumers;
  • work with DairyCo so farmers can use relevant market information; and
  • create an ambitious strategy for the UK dairy industry’s future without EU milk quotas.