NFU SCOTLAND’S new Milk Committee met for the first time this week – and the single most important issue arising was milk contract regulation.

The new look committee – led by NFUS milk chair John Smith, newly elected vice chair Gary Mitchell, milk policy manager Stuart Martin and policy manager George Jamieson – discussed a full agenda, including Brexit and product promotion, but with Defra and the devolved governments set to consult on contract regulation in the summer, the focus was on the contracts issue and the positive impact the right outcome could have for members.

The union believes that contract terms including pricing mechanisms, volumes, exclusivity, duration, termination, variations and dispute resolution must be agreed and freely negotiated, not imposed.

The imminent consultation will seek opinions on how to sensibly achieve this, and in order for the union to provide a robust answer, and to be fully representative of members’ views, it will be looking to host a serious of roadshows for dairy farmers. Full details of the roadshows will be made available after the consultation is released.

Mr Smith said: “Mandatory milk contracts could have a hugely beneficial impact on dairy farmers throughout the country and I believe is something we, as a union, need to push for if we are to improve the marketplace for our members, in collaboration with our milk purchasers.

“The roadshows are going to be a fantastic opportunity for us to get out into all the regions and have an open dialogue with dairy farmers. It is important that we are continuously updating members as well receiving feedback from them."