FARMERS have welcomed new legislation promising fair and transparent dairy contracts for all.

More than a decade after UK farming unions first called out unfair practices and abuses of power in the dairy supply chain, new legislation was laid in Parliament last week to ensure fair and transparent contracts for all dairy farmers in the UK.

In response to ongoing union campaigning, the government held an industry-wide consultation in 2020 which found unfair practices within the supply chain linked to buyers having the power to set and modify the terms of a contract with no negotiation with the producer and little notification.

The new regulations, a commitment set out at the Prime Minister’s Farm to Fork Summit last year, will establish transparency and accountability across the dairy supply chain by stopping contract changes being imposed without agreement.

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There will also be a system in place to enable farmers to verify the calculation of variable prices. The regulations also include an enforcement regime, backed up by the ability for the Secretary of State to impose substantial financial penalties in respect of any breaches.

NFU Cymru Dairy Board Chairman Jonathan Wilkinson said: “The introduction of this legislation represents a massive step forward and is a once in a generation opportunity to change the way the dairy supply chain operates.

"The additional transparency and accountability introduced by these regulations will benefit the whole supply chain and provides additional certainty to farmers as to the terms under which they sell their milk.

“We are ambitious for the future of farming in Wales, and NFU Cymru, alongside the other UK Farming Unions, will continue to work with government and the wider supply chain to ensure these regulations deliver not only for Welsh dairy farmers, but the millions of consumers around the world that enjoy our climate friendly and nutritious milk.”