Producers have slammed the MMG farmer board as a ’sham’
Muller non-aligned producers are working together to give themselves a ’voice’ and are calling for ’legislative intervention’ to address what they perceive as the imbalance of power in the supply chain.
The producers have slammed the Muller Milk Group (MMG) farmer board branding it, and any revised version, as ’a sham’.
They have launched a campaign to ’facilitate greater communication among the Muller non-aligned producers’.
Producers from at least three other processors are considering similar moves with Meadow Foods producers meeting to discuss their options.
While these groups of producers are working independently, one farmer said there may be the prospect of the groups working together to ’get their voice heard’.
A Muller non-aligned producer said the ’divisive nature of retailer aligned contracts’ may allow retailers to recover the premiums paid to aligned farmers from others, with this ultimately borne out by the non-aligned.
Having placed adverts in Farmers Guardian and wanting to remain anonymous at the moment, they said: "Without a legitimate and accountable producer organisation or collective bargaining association in place allowing non-aligned producers to implement protective methods to maintain their margin, we, the non-aligned producers, remain completely exposed and can only have an unsustainable future."
They said producers should feel aggrieved by the decision to serve notice on the Direct Milk DPO which had been ‘staggeringly’ agreed by the MMG farmer board.
The process to equalise the milk price for both of Muller’s non-aligned liquid contracts was completed last month.
A new MMG structure has been announced which the Direct Milk DPO said 'builds on the DPO’s democratic principles of good governance and electoral accountability'.
Lyndsay Chapman, agriculture director for Muller Milk and Ingredients, said she recognised suppliers were looking for 'clarity' during the work to 'integrate' Dairy Crest dairies.
She said: "That is why we have written to Muller farmers up and down the country inviting them to meetings during November to discuss new proposals and information on issues including the MMG's representational structure, milk producer contracts and milk pricing, as well as Muller's ambitious plans in the UK.
"I am sorry this group of farmers has not contacted me directly up to now, but hope they will in the near future, or alternatively will attend these meetings to constructively provide their input."