Dairy farmers across the country will soon be able to sign up for specialist training to help them to compete in the milk market in independent co-operative groups.
The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) is launching a new nationwide training programme following a successful bid for support from Government’s £5m Dairy Fund package.
The ‘Foundation for Collaboration’ venture will help dairy farmers to increase their competitiveness, access new markets, strengthen their position in the dairy supply chain and ultimately secure their long-term future in the dairy industry, the RABDF says.
The programme will be officially launched with a major conference in Solihull in April. It will be followed by a series of regional training meetings, group workshops and study tours to established European Producer Organisations.
As part of the initiative access to funding will be made available to farmers who demonstrate commitment to collaboration, including help with business plans, feasibility studies and the legal costs of setting up legally constituted Producer Organisations.
Nick Everington, the RABDF’s chief executive, said: “We believe this opportunity is very timely. With milk prices at an all-time high and processors keen to secure supplies, it’s now that farmers should think about how they can maintain a strong negotiating position.”
The training initiative was welcomed by David Shaw, dairy board chairman for the National Farmers’ Union in the North East. Mr Shaw, who milks a Jersey herd at Elvington near York, believes it can help dairy farmers to better compete with their European counterparts in a world marketplace.
“The Dairy Fund is something that as producers we can use to apply to set up Producer Organisations but the problem is our knowledge is limited, therefore having an opportunity to go through training is going to be useful. It’s something that the NFU’s Dairy Board has encouraging people to look into to strengthen the industry.”