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NFU leader asks farmers to be patient
A FARMERS’ leader has described calls for the new dairy code to be given legal teeth as ‘premature’.
Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers’ Union, said he wanted the voluntary agreement bet-ween producers and milk buyers to be given a chance to succeed before any legal sanctions are considered.
The code, adopted last month, imposes an agreed period of notice over price and other contractual changes, giving farmers more rights to terminate a contract early if they disagree with them Although welcomed by the industry, Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Far-ron said the agreement did not go far enough and should be made legally robust. He suggested the new groceries adjudicator be given power to enforce the code.
But Mr Kendall urged farmers to have patience with the agreement.
Speaking at the West-morland County Show at Crooklands, he said: “We need to monitor the situation closely to see what happens between the producers and milk buyers but it is clear the code should be given time.
“We have a review clause so if in six or eight months’ it becomes apparent it is not working we can look at it again. If that happens, I will be straight on the phone to Tim Farron saying ‘we need help’.”
Meanwhile, Mr Farron used the county show to launch his Fair Deal for Farmers petition to imp-rove the financial lot of dairy producers.
In recent months, processors have cut prices to the point where many farmers are losing between five and eight pence a litre.
Hundreds of showgoers signed the ‘cow card’ on Thursday and more signa-tures have been added over recent days, taking the total to more than 1,000.
“People at the show were massively supportive,” said Mr Farron. “I am hugely grateful to them.”