DAIRY farmers have been urged to engage with the forthcoming government consultation on dairy contracts and make their voice heard by speaking up for a more effective dairy supply chain, with fairer terms for farmers.

In a joint statement, all four UK farming unions reiterated their support for regulated contract terms for dairy farmers, and said that they will be extensively consulting with their members in an effort to rebalance where the risk currently sits within the dairy supply chain.

In a joint statement, the dairy farmer representatives of the four unions said: “For too long, dairy farmers have shouldered too much of the risk in the dairy market and in many cases have been subject to unfair contract terms and trading practices. As outlined in the GCA review published in February, there is clearly an imbalance of power within the dairy supply chain.

“As we await the government’s consultation on dairy contracts to be issued, in order for us to understand the proposals in full, we are using this time to consult with our members extensively. We want to understand their views on dairy contracts and our final responses to that consultation will reflect our members’ views. We are all keen to constructively engage with industry and government to deliver the improvements we all want to see.

“Together, we want to see flexible and innovative regulation that delivers fair terms for farmers and an equitable balancing of risk between farmers and buyers. We have been exploring a range of legal mechanisms to achieve this, including looking at Common Market Organisation legislation as well as other legal powers that the government might use to achieve effective regulation.

“As we leave the EU, the UK dairy market needs to be fit for purpose; commercially focused, innovative and competitive. It is vital that we have a properly operating dairy market where risk is shared across the supply chain," read the statement.

“Dairy farmers need to be in a strong position to develop professional and sustainable relationships with their buyers, while operating to fair trading terms.”