Discussion around fixed milk contracts “good news”

Tuesday, 3 September, 2013

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed the news that United Dairy Farmers’ (UDF) is set to discuss the possibility of fixed contracts with its members. The comments were made following the announcement that UDF will be hosting a series of open area meetings with members to discuss fixed contracts, payment by solids, and the possibility of introducing different contracts for different end markets such as cheese, liquid milk and powders.

UFU Deputy President Barclay Bell said; “The recent announcement from United Dairy Farmers’ (UDF) that they are putting fixed contracts on the table for discussion is very welcome news and we see this as a very positive and forward-thinking step. Price uncertainty is always a major concern for farmers and having the option of a fixed contract could help to cushion farmers against any volatility in the market. However, the devil will be in the detail and we would expect that any contract offered looks after the interests of both farmer and processor. 

“The UFU has called for similar actions to be taken in the past and we are pleased to see that United Dairy Farmers’ (UDF) is moving in this direction. Ultimately, it would appear that the demise of the UDF milk auction has paved the way for the possibility of more transparent means of trading, such as fixed contracts.

“Fixed contracts will not be for everyone. Each farmer will need to assess their own situation to determine if it is the right move for them, but at least the option would be there. I would also encourage all processors to think about the actions UDF is taking and consider offering similar options to their members.”