Dairy prices enquiry launched

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

The EFRA committee is investigating the impact of price volatility for milk and dairy products
The EFRA committee is investigating the impact of price volatility for milk and dairy products

Related tags Dairy industry Dairy Milk

An official enquiry into dairy prices has been launched by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee following the rapid plunge in milk prices in the past year.

Earlier this month, the committee wrote to Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, seeking an urgent update on the actions of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to support the UK dairy industry.

The committee published Truss’s response online today (October 31). In it, she stresses the government had committed £160M to improve the UK's uptake of research into farming.

Commenting on the outcome earlier this year of the review into the Dairy Industry Code of Best Practice for Contractual Relations, Truss said she agreed with the conclusion that the code should remain voluntary.

Producer organisations

She stressed the code was not the only way to ensure good relationships in the supply chain and said the EU Dairy Package allowed for producers to unite to form producer organisations to boost their buying power.

She indicated that she did not approve of government becoming “involved in discussions about the price of milk”.

“I met dairy industry representatives on October 22 to discuss the recent effect of market pressures on milk prices and we agreed that the long-term picture for the dairy industry remains positive,” ​Truss concluded in her letter.

“We'll be working together to encourage more consumers to buy our quality dairy products and open up new export markets abroad, so our dairy industry can become more resilient, competitive and profitable on a global scale.

Having received Truss’s letter, EFRA said it was now seeking views on the adequacy of the government’s actions to ensure UK dairy farmers could continue to invest for the future at a time of volatile market prices.

‘Recommendations for government action’

EFRA committee chair Anne McIntosh said: “Our committee has taken a close interest in the dairy industry, publishing a report in 2011 with a series of recommendations for government action.

“The Secretary of State’s letter reports that significant action has been taken to implement changes since then, but we wish to investigate a number of areas where further action could be taken.

The committee is therefore inviting interested parties to let us have their views on the best way to safeguard the UK dairy industry during the current global price downturn.”


The committee is inviting written submissions on the following issues:

  • What impact has price volatility for milk and dairy products had on dairy farmers and what are the anticipated short, medium and long-term impacts on future dairy production in England?
  • How effective have government measures to support the dairy industry been in securing the long-term viability of dairy farming in England?
  • What impact has the EU milk package under the Common Agricultural Policy had on dairy farming and what outcomes should the government aim to secure from the EU?
  • How effective have the EU measures been to address the impact of market surpluses on prices?
  • How successful have voluntary approaches such as the Dairy Industry Code of Best Practice for Contractual Relations been in securing the long-term future of dairy farming?
  • How effective is the regime established under the Groceries Code Adjudicator Act 2013 in ensuring fair and stable prices for milk producers?
  • What should the processing organisations, farmers themselves and their farming representatives do to improve the prospects for dairy farmers in a volatile market?

Written submissions for the enquiry should be submitted via the dairy prices enquiry page on the EFRA website.  The page will accept submissions from early next week.

The deadline for submissions is November 18, 2014. Interested parties can secure further details online​.

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