Dairy UK has published Sustainable Dairy, a short colourful booklet that looks at the relationship between the dairy industry and the environment.

“The dairy industry is a major player in the food sector,” explained Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg. “More than 98% of the UK population consumes our products on a regular basis. So the challenge of ever more mouths to feed increases day by day, and the way that our industry interacts with the environment becomes increasingly important.

“We take these challenges and responsibilities very seriously. Sustainable Dairy examines the challenges in a clear and concise fashion, and sets out what the industry is doing to address them.

“Our new booklet shows that we’re doing a lot. We’re not complacent, but we think that Sustainable Dairy shows that we have a good story to tell.”



Equitable treatment must be at heart of UK CAP policy, says Dairy UK

Commenting on the EU budget agreement, Dairy UK Policy Director Peter Dawson said: “In order to get political agreement, greater flexibility is being granted to EU Member States to decide how to implement the CAP. There is still a long way to go in the political process before the CAP is finally agreed. Yet more flexibility may be built into it on the way. This means that, when it’s finally implemented, there may be very little remaining that is ‘common’.

“Sometimes flexibility is to be welcomed, particularly over the development of greening measures, but too much will plough up the level playing field. We need a commitment from the Government that, when it comes to implementation, it will ensure that UK milk producers are treated equitably compared to their EU counterparts. The competitiveness of our dairy farmers must not be unduly compromised.

“If the Government wants an expanding and dynamic industry, then it cannot ignore the role of direct payments in influencing farmer confidence to invest in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. This will determine the shape of the EU dairy industry in the post quota world.”



Dairy UK and Wrap sign federation house commitment partnership to reduce water usage

Dairy UK and WRAP have signed an agreement that will see Dairy UK become an official partner to the Federation House Commitment (FHC).

The FHC is a voluntary commitment for food and drink manufacturers administered by WRAP. This contributes to a wider food and drink industry sector target to reduce water use by 20% by 2020. The FHC asks participants to develop water reduction plans, affords them access to expert advice and site visits, and requires the submission of data to demonstrate progress made each year.

The partnership will see Dairy UK become the first new partner since the FHC’s inception, joining the Environment Agency, Food and Drink Federation, Defra and WRAP.

The partnership aims to promote greater awareness of water efficiency within the industry and facilitate wider participation from Dairy UK members. This has already led to the recruitment of a number of new companies, bringing with them twelve additional dairy sites. Dairy UK members now signed up the FHC are: Arla Foods, BV Dairy, Dairy Crest, First Milk and Müller UK companies Müller Dairy and Müller Wiseman Dairies.

Commenting on the new partnership Dairy UK Director Jim Begg said: “The dairy industry takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and water use has to be at the top of the agenda for us in terms of a sustainable future.

"This partnership demonstrates our industry’s commitment to reducing its water consumption and will build upon and compliment the water reduction targets already set by the industry’s own Dairy Roadmap.”

Richard Swannell, Director at WRAP said: “In order to achieve water use reduction, through the Federation House Commitment (FHC), we need effective partnerships. As a result, I am delighted that Dairy UK has become an official partner. This will help to reduce water consumption further, saving businesses money and helping conserve an important natural resource."




Commenting today on the announcement of Government consultation on the implementation of the Dairy Package in England, Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg said: “Everyone involved in the negotiations that resulted in the agreement of the Voluntary Code of Practice recognises that the principles set out in the Code provide a strong basis for the future evolution of industry contractual relationships, avoiding the need for regulation.

We agree with the Minister’s view that this important initiative now needs time to be put in place and its effects evaluated. It is definitely a constructive way forward for the industry.”

Producer Organisations may potentially provide a new opportunity for producers collectively to market their milk.


“We will seek to co-operate with Defra and the industry to progress collaborative work in this area so that those Producer Organisations that do emerge are viable and can make a positive contribution to the supply chain,” explained Begg.





Dairy UK has published a briefing for decision makers and opinion formers on CAP Reform and says that the current round of proposals presents a mixed bag of threats and opportunities for the UK dairy industry.

Commenting on the publication of the new Dairy UK Policy Briefing, Director General Jim Begg said: “We are now at the business end of the current round of proposals and in summary they are a mixed bag for our industry.

“The importance of CAP Reform to the United Kingdom dairy industry cannot be overstated. It provides the framework within which the industry, and its competitors, operates. It can act as a brake, or an accelerator, on the sector. It has the potential to encourage, or distort, competition and it can reduce, or create, inequalities.”

Some of the key points made by Dairy UK include:

  • The Commission’s proposals give too much emphasis to winning continued political support for the CAP at the risk of missing an opportunity to address the real challenges of the future.
  • Dairy farmers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be disproportionately affected by a move away from historic payments to flat-rate regional payments.
  • The proposal for capping payments will act as a brake on industry restructuring and should be withdrawn.
  • Environmental measures are best delivered through targeted initiatives.
  • If the Commission’s proposals for greening are to be taken forward they need to be significantly amended to make them practical and deliverable.
  • Coupled payments, which link aid to production, could provide short term transitional support but they should be time limited to prevent distortion to competition.
  • The CAP must continue to provide an effective safety net for addressing extremes of downward price volatility.
  • The UK’s share of Rural Development funds needs to be increased to address the historic shortfall in the UK’s allocation.

Begg continued: “The Policy Briefing sets out our views, but we’re also interested in the opinions of other stakeholders, so we hope that this document acts as a catalyst for feedback and debate.”




Dairy UK (NI) and the Ulster Farmers’ Union have agreed a voluntary Code of Practice for contractual relationships between suppliers and purchasers of milk in Northern Ireland. This voluntary Code is based on a similar Code that was developed and agreed by the industry in Great Britain as part of the outworking of the EU Dairy Package. In developing this Code both Dairy UK (NI) and UFU were mindful of the need to reflect the local circumstances in Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the Northern Ireland document, Dairy UK (NI) Director Dr Mike Johnston said, “Agreement of this voluntary Code of Practice for NI means that an important element of the EU Dairy Package, namely contractual relationships between suppliers and purchasers of milk, has now been addressed within the UK as a whole. And just as important, it has been achieved by the dairy supply chain working on a co-operative, voluntary basis rather than through a legislative approach by Government.”

Speaking on behalf of the UFU, Deputy President Ian Marshall said “This is a first yet significant step for the Northern Ireland Dairy Industry. By setting out good practice for contracts between producers and processors, the Voluntary Code aims to improve trust and transparency between producers and processors. The expectation is that the Voluntary Code will work alongside the recommendations of Agri-Food Strategy Board, ensuring that our dairy industry is able to adapt and grow whilst meeting the challenges ahead.”


Notes for Editors: As in Great Britain, final implementation of the voluntary code of practice will be subject to legal approval.

Contacts for further information:

Dr Mike Johnston, Dairy UK (NI) Director: tel 02890 770116, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Dairy UK is disappointed at the postponement of the badger cull trials.

A pragmatic, science based approach to tackling Bovine TB remains the correct approach and it is frustrating for all involved that the pilots cannot go ahead effectively at this stage. We support efforts to ensure the pilots proceed at the earliest opportunity.

Healthy dairy cows and a healthy badger population is the objective in seeking to eradicate Bovine TB.




The UK dairy industry is now positively addressing the issue of Johne’s disease in cattle. This is a direct result of progress in awareness and understanding of the disease over the course of the last two years.

Speaking at the Dairy UK/DairyCo Johne’s Disease Conference in Worcester today, Dairy UK Technical Director Ed Komorowski said: “Almost one quarter of dairy herds in GB have now engaged in a Johne’s management programme, which is an enormous step forward on where we were two years ago. Dr Komorowski explained that there had been huge strides made in measuring the prevalence and economic importance of the disease.

“We can now quantify, based on a large number of test results, the reduction in milk yield, the effect on somatic cell counts, increased infertility and premature culling resulting from Johne’s disease in the dairy herd” he said.

“The challenge for the industry now is to establish and implement farm management procedures which take Johne’s into account. These need to cost effective and robust enough to make an impact” said Komorowski. “Doing nothing is not an option, because the situation will only deteriorate. What is required is a long term commitment.”




Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg described today’s publication of the industry Voluntary Code of Best Practice on Contractual Arrangements as a landmark event.

“The Code should give dairy farmers confidence in their contractual arrangements and enable dairy farmers and processors to develop deeper relationships of trust and mutual understanding”, said Begg. “We now expect publication of the Code to avoid regulation of farm contracts, which nobody wanted, and that Defra and the devolved administrations will recognise this when they consult on the implementation of the Dairy Package.”

Mr Begg went on to explain that publication of the Code has been delayed slightly in order to secure the necessary legal clearance, “but we have already communicated the contents of the Code down through our membership in a series of briefing meetings. It’s now up to individual dairy companies to take the Code forward with their supplying farmers.

“The focus for Dairy UK is now very firmly on the arrangements for implementing Producer Organisations in the UK. This is also an important part of the Dairy Package. It is vital for everyone in the supply chain that the industry adopts the right approach in the setting up and operation of Producer Organisations. As with the Voluntary Code, this is another area where best results will be achieved through discussions across the supply chain. We would be very happy to work with the farming unions in preparation for and after the Government consultation.”




Twenty-five dairy technologists have graduated with a brand new Eden Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology.

This specialised, world class degree has been developed by the dairy industry, working through Dairy UK, the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink and Reaseheath College. It has been designed to address specific skills shortages, and to enable the UK industry to be at the cutting edge of hi-tech dairy processing and manufacturing.

A £5 million purpose-built dairy training centre was established at Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, to ensure that the students receive world class theoretical and practical training.

Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg commented, “The graduation of the first Eden students marks a special day for the dairy industry. These students have worked hard on what was created to be the best dairy course anywhere in the world. They can now play an important part in developing the UK’s highly efficient and globally competitive dairy industry. We congratulate them on their achievement, and hope they will inspire fellow Eden students for years to come”.

The 25 graduates are all employees of Arla Foods, Dairy Crest, First Milk, Milk Link, Muller Dairies and Robert Wiseman Dairies and throughout their three year degree programme have been applying their knowledge and learnings to improve activities in dairy factories across the UK.

Dave Kynaston, Vice Principal of Reaseheath College, said: “The inaugural graduation of Eden Dairy Technologists represents a milestone for the industry. A significant part of their success has been achieved through the partnership between Reaseheath College as the training provider and the major dairy processors. We wish all the graduates continued success within their companies.”

Justine Fosh, Executive Director of the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, added: “This is an exceptionally important landmark in the future development of the UK dairy industry. We congratulate every single graduate on their hard work and are honoured to have played our part in ensuring businesses now have access to new recruits with exactly the right skills to drive further growth and innovation in an industry transformed by new technology, new processes and increased automation.

"These graduates are the first of the best – with many more to come in future years.”






Dairy UK has published guidance for milk and dairy product manufacturers which will provide clear and unambiguous advice to consumers on date marking.


The guidance builds on work by Defra which covers all foods and provides specific application for dairy products. The guidance aims to reduce food wastage in the home without compromising on food safety and quality.


Ed Komorowski, Dairy UK Technical Director explains: “It’s important that we do this for the dairy industry, because our products are found in more than 98% of homes. They are therefore an integral part of most people’s lives. So clearly we need to ensure that they are appropriately date marked.


“In addition, to make sure that they are kept in the best possible condition, our guidance also makes recommendations around the optimum storage conditions for both the unopened and open products.”


WRAP's Consumer Food Waste Prevention Programme Manager, Andrew Parry said: “Improvements in the clarity and consistency of date labelling and storage guidance can help consumers reduce the amount of food thrown away. We welcome this guidance and hope this will enable the dairy sector to build on the good progress already made”


WRAP’s research shows that there is a need for more information on how long dairy products can be consumed after opening, and what can be frozen. A Decision Tree for freezing guidance, developed by WRAP, in conjunction with the FSA, has also been included as an appendix to the Dairy UK publication.





Neil Kennedy, Milk Link Chief Executive, has today been elected to succeed Robert Wiseman as the new Chairman of Dairy UK. Mr Wiseman has completed his two year period of office. Speaking after his election, Mr Kennedy said: “I am honoured to have been elected to succeed Robert Wiseman as Chairman of Dairy UK at what is a watershed time for our industry.

“Economic recession and a major downturn in world commodity markets have combined recently to produce difficult times for both dairy farmers and dairy processors alike. Throughout this period Robert has provided empathetic and astute leadership, which has been to the immense benefit of both Dairy UK and the wider dairy industry.

“As a market driven industry, volatility is here to stay. It will be how we work together as an industry to understand and address that volatility that will determine the sustainability of dairy farming and processing businesses going forwards. In this respect, the recent agreement on the voluntary code was an enormous step forward.

“I do hope that we can build on this because, whilst the underlying prospects for our industry are undoubtedly good – with dedicated dairy farmers, climatic advantages for milk production, and a processing sector which is benefitting from major investment to make it more competitive – we are going to need to see more examples of co-operation and collaboration if we are to make the most of these positive trends and opportunities.”

Mark Allen, Chief Executive of Dairy Crest and Kate Allum, Chief Executive of First Milk, were elected as Dairy UK Vice Chairmen. Billy Keane, Managing Director of Robert Wiseman Dairies, was elected Honorary Treasurer.



The 2012 Dairy UK Award has been awarded to Rex Ward in recognition of his passionate advocacy of the interests of UK dairy farmers and of the wider UK dairy industry.

A founder member and subsequently Farmer Director and Vice Chairman of Milk Link, Mr Ward is currently Chairman of Dairy UK’s Farmers Forum. He also sits on the Board of Dairy UK and is a director of Cornwall Farmers.

In presenting Mr Ward with his award, Dairy UK Vice Chairman Neil Kennedy said: “For the last two years Rex has chaired Dairy UK’s Farmers’ Forum. In this capacity he has taken on a number of high profile activities and done so with great credit. His modest demeanour belies an ability to focus on the important issues. This is backed up by a comprehensive top to bottom knowledge and understanding of the dairy industry.

“Not only has Rex represented the interests of dairy farmers on the Board of Dairy UK, but he has also presented evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee and other MP meetings, he has participated in the negotiations on the voluntary code of practice and he has chaired a number of major industry conferences.”

The award was made at the Dairy UK conference dinner held at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Birmingham on 3rd September.



Dairy UK, the NFU and the NFUS have reached agreement on a voluntary code of best practice on contractual relationships between milk buyers and dairy farmers.


Commenting on the landmark agreement Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg said: “I am delighted that Dairy UK, on behalf of its members, has been able to reach agreement with the farming unions on the voluntary code. This important initiative builds upon existing arrangements, which give farmers and processors security in business relationships, whilst adding additional safeguards that will assure farmers that their contracts are not putting them at a disadvantage in the marketplace.


“The code should also enable dairy farmers and processors to build relationships of trust and mutual understanding. Only on this basis can the industry create the added value that will protect it from price volatility. We would hope that the spirit of co-operation that has resulted in this agreement can be carried forward into the future.”


Mansel Raymond NFU Dairy Board Chairman commented: “This code is the culmination of many months of hard work by all parties. The NFU has championed the cause of improving dairy contracts and we are now very pleased to be launching this code of best practice. Farmers need equitable and trusting relationships with their milk buyers and this can only be achieved by putting in place fair and transparent milk supply contracts.


“In line with the Coalition's 10 point plan we will be working with farmers and processors to see the many beneficial terms of this code translated into beneficial terms in milk supply contracts. Getting this code agreed is the right footing to move forward with the industry on a robust and ambitious strategy for the dairy sector, which is a priority for us.”


Rory Christie, Vice Chairman of the NFUS Milk Committee went on to comment: “This code of best practice is highly significant, it is about British dairy farmers working together with British dairy processors to improve the industry. Individually farmers can be weak, but the NFUS believe that dairy farmers working together can achieve a great deal and we will be continuing this collaborative effort as we work to ensure the code is implemented in the best way for our dairy members.


"We're pleased to have taken this project across the line and thank all concerned.”


Dairy UK Statement on Dairy Summit

There can be no doubt that the meeting clearly demonstrated the strength of feeling amongst milk producers at the moment. Dairy farmers’ frustrations are wholly understandable. The recent price cuts are regrettable, but we have to remember that industry pricing is market driven and that it is to the market that we must look for solutions.

Forecast demand growth for milk and dairy products is very positive, so the last thing that that the dairy industry needs right now is any restriction in its supply base.

As the Minister said earlier today, the discussions on the voluntary code have undoubtedly made significant progress and Dairy UK is fully committed to seeing these through to a conclusion as quickly as possible. The many advantages of agreeing a voluntary code are fully understood and will go a long way towards addressing the concerns that have been expressed by dairy farmers today.

The current situation is extremely frustrating for everyone involved in the dairy industry, but we have to accept that the UK industry operates in a globalised market environment that is enormously volatile and we cannot insulate ourselves from world market trends.

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