Mid Gwynedd dairy farmers have recently met with Sian Gwenllian AM to call for the principles behind the voluntary code of practice for dairy contracts to be made compulsory.
During the meeting, held at Cae Glas Farm, Llanwnda, Caernarfon, by kind permission of brothers Sion and Tegid Williams, members voiced their concerns on issues within the dairy industry and highlighted the inadequacy of some dairy contracts. Members also expressed their disappointment that not all milk buyers had signed up to the voluntary code of practice for dairy contracts.
Aled Jones NFU Cymru Milk Board Chairman said: “Any falls in world market commodity prices are immediately felt in milk prices but any gains are extremely slow to manifest themselves in prices paid to dairy farmers. Too often we see unreasonable conditions placed in contracts and unreasonable notice for specification changes. This really isn’t acceptable and creates great uncertainty, making future planning very difficult for the farmer.
“This is why we’re asking for the principles behind the voluntary code of practice to be made compulsory and for the Grocery Code Adjudicator to have the powers to oversee the code. We want an end to unfair practices and one sided contracts so that we have a level playing field for the whole supply chain.”
During the meeting the benefits of Dairy Producer Organisations (DPO) were also discussed at length and how farmers, processors and retailers can best work together. Aled Jones said: “There is now an opportunity to develop DPOs in Wales and we asked Sian Gwenllian to support the formation of these producer organisations to help combat price volatility that currently exists in the milk sector.
“We have to reverse the trend of people going out of dairy farming by making the sector more attractive. The farming industry supports a myriad of other rural businesses and its importance to the rural economy is clear to see.”
Aled Jones concluded: “I’d like to thank Sian Gwenllian AM for meeting with us and I do hope she found the meeting informative and insightful. I sincerely hope she will take on board the points we have raised and that she will push our priorities forward during her discussions in the National Assembly’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee as they develop a post-Brexit policy for Welsh agriculture.”
The NFU has recently launched a new Contract Checking Service for members. Contracts are an increasing concern for members and many disputes could have been easily avoided or the costs significantly reduced by seeking professional guidance and support at the outset before signing on the dotted line.