The UK Government and devolved administrations have launched a consultation on unfair practices in the dairy sector.
The consultation will seek views on whether regulations can be introduced to ensure farmers are treated fairly.
Evidence collected by the UK Government has shown dairy farmers are subjected to uncertainty and unfair pricing because milk buyers have the power to set and modify prices in contracts with little notification.
Proposals to solve the problem being considered by the consultation include an option to introduce a mandatory pricing mechanism in all contracts between dairy farmers and processors.
This would ensure the price paid for milk produced by the farmer is formally agreed in the contract, and that contract negotiations take place in a clear and transparent way.
Farming Minister Victoria Prentis, Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing and Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths all encouraged farmers to take part in the consultation.
Ms Prentis said: “I welcome all views to this consultation to determine how best we can guarantee fairness across the supply chain.
“This will help the industry continue its vital role in feeding the nation and ensure our dairy farmers can continue to be competitive in the future.”
NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes also urged farmers to respond to the consultation.
He said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a significant number of cases where farmers have borne a disproportionate amount of the cost in the supply chain, as the risks within the market place were shunted down to farm level at an alarming pace.
“The NFU has been working with all the UK farming unions to improve dairy contracts, and we will be consulting widely with our members through our website and in virtual meetings to get a range of views which will form the basis of our submission to Government.
“Farmers can either contact us directly from today or respond to the consultation individually.”
Full details on how to participate in this consultation are on CitizenSpace.
The deadline for responses is September 15 2020.