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New milk contracts framework for farmers

The voices of dairy farmers across the UK have finally been listened to, as new regulations are being brought in to help stop unfair practices in the dairy supply chain.

It is hoped the new regulations will establish transparency and put a stop to contract changes being imposed without agreement, negatively impacting farmers and their businesses.

However, as a firm that has supported the rural and farming communities for decades, we feel this news need to be approached with caution.

Napthens welcomes the news, but says it could take 18-24 months to get the all the new contracts out, and warns farmers to use a ‘checker’ before signing them.

Andrew Holden, head of Napthens’ rural team, said: “The news from Parliament that the new regulations are being brought in is welcome news for every dairy farmer in the north west and UK.

“Farmers, including our clients, have faced unfair milk contracts and changes to them, with little recourse, and it’s held them back.

“Now they can look forward with optimism, boosting confidence, while also delivering increased security for their farming businesses.

“The key message for farmers is that despite of the new regulations, they shouldn’t just sign the new contracts.

“While there will no doubt be positive changes within the new contracts, careful scrutiny of all contracts by legal experts is strongly advised.”

Napthens has ‘contract checker’ facility, which farmers can take advantage of too, particularly as it’s subsidised by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) for the firm to undertake the contract checking advice.

Andrew added: “The ‘contract checker’ is an invaluable tool for farmers, particularly given there will be new contracts being issued in the coming weeks and months.

“This examination will provide farmers with long-term confidence that they are being fairly dealt with and are receiving the best value for their product.

“Without scrutiny, they could be faced with similar issues that they have impacted their lives and businesses for decades.”