The dairy industry Voluntary Code of Best Practice signed by NFU Scotland, the NFU of England and Wales and Dairy UK at the end of August is now being circulated to the industry.
The code looks to address long-standing contractual issues between milk purchasers and producers. Although the code is voluntary, all parties are expected to abide by the requirements of good practice outlined.
NFU Scotland milk committee vice-chairman Rory Christie said: “This is a hugely important piece of work for the dairy sector and NFU Scotland has been at the heart of negotiations. While the code does not include all that NFUS wanted, we believe there is more than enough in it to bring positive and substantial improvements to current dairy contracts.
“Now that the document is in circulation, we look forward to a more positive approach to contractual arrangements to commence with the code being used to significantly improve trust and transparency between milk producer and processors. Dairy farmers expect and deserve nothing less.
“This is a positive development and it is in all parties’ interests that this works. Through our dairy farming members and Dairy Farmers Together, we will be actively monitoring the uptake of the code and its effect.
“It is important to note that there is a review process which includes an annual review and, from day one, there is the ability for parties to highlight any concerns around the code’s operation. While we are fully committed to the code, we will also ensure that positive elements of the EU Dairy Regulation continue to be scrutinised and that a legislative approach remains an option if the voluntary route fails to deliver the required improvements.
“These are both things for another day. Just now, lets focus on the fact that the code is a significant step forward for the sector that must take the whole dairy industry forward.”