A code of practice to ensure fairer pricing for dairy farmers is on the way, following cross-industry talks at the Royal Welsh Show.

A code of practice to ensure fairer pricing for dairy farmers is on the way, following cross-industry talks at the Royal Welsh Show on July 23, 2012.

However, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee (EFRACom) has written to farming minister Jim Paice outlining its frustration on the issue, warning that it may call DEFRA secretary of state Caroline Spelman to account if the code is not ratified by September.

Fairer prices for dairy farmersAt the show, officials, farmers, processors and retailers agreed that “in future, contracts between farmers and dairy processors will be freely negotiated, fairer and more transparent”.    

DEFRA has announced that talks to formalise a code will take place during August 2012, with the aim of ensuring individual farmers are able to negotiate the terms of their milk contacts, including pricing and notice periods.

Speaking at the Royal Welsh Show Mr Paice said he welcomed the industry’s commitment to reach an agreement on the issue.

“The Government will continue to work with all parts of the industry to secure its long term future, including promoting farmers working together in producer organisations,” he said.

However, shortly after the agreement was announced EFRACom wrote to Mr Paice to stress the importance of finalising the code during the next month.

“We urge the Government to secure the voluntary code as a matter of priority,” said EFRACom chairman Anne McIntosh.

“If it cannot then legislation must be considered. We are delighted that talks on the code are going ahead but we will reserve the possible decision to invite the Secretary of State before us in September if no formal decision is reached.”

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