Show asks ‘are we ready for Brexit?’

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NFU dairy board chair­man Michael Oakes was on the panel at a Q&A ses­sion at The South West Dairy Show re­cently re­spond­ing to queries on whether the sec­tor is ready for Brexit.

He joined FFA chair­man David Han­d­ley and Kite Con­sult­ing’s John Allen for a de­bate chaired by Peter Hollinshead, dairy farmer editor for the Farmers Guardian.

All three speak­ers were given five min­utes for their opening re­marks be­fore Peter turned to the au­di­ence for ques­tions.

Labour came out as a key is­sue, along with the need for trans­parency in the sup­ply chain.

Michael called for a fair code of prac­tice and a min­i­mum con­tract law to pre­vent dis­hon­est prac­tise.

All three speak­ers roundly con­demned the use of con­tracts which of­fered a B price that was not market rel­e­vant.

The in­tro­duc­tion of for­ward fixed pric­ing by some milk buy­ers was cau­tiously wel­comed by all speak­ers.

There was a feel­ing of op­ti­mism among the crowd and the speak­ers, with many alive to the op­por­tu­ni­ties raised by Brexit but equally aware of the need to first en­sure sta­bil­ity in terms of labour, trade and a fu­ture do­mes­tic agri­cul­tural pol­icy that works for and recog­nises the needs of the Bri­tish dairy in­dus­try.

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