Collaboration and pride key to driving dairy industry forward

Published 3 December 18

Agri ScotTaking pride in what you do and working together to drive the industry forward were the key messages to dairy farmers at this year’s Scottish Dairy Hub debate which took place at AgriScot last week.

Farmers were also keen to know what could be done to make the dairy industry more transparent and open as well as recognising the high quality food that they produce.

Hosted by the Scottish Dairy Hub, the session covered a number of topics with discussion from the four cross-industry panel members; AHDB chief strategy officer Tom Hind, RBS director of agriculture Roddy McLean, commentator Ian Potter and dairy farmer Rory Christie.

Stuart Martin, Scottish Dairy Hub Manager, who organises the annual session said: “This year’s debate was better than ever with a diverse panel from all different corners of our industry.

 “We had lots of challenging questions from farmers covering milk prices and mandatory contracts, to what we can do to innovate and push the dairy industry forward.”

Rory Christie remarked, “We need to stop saying that we are ‘just a farmer’, we have an important role to play and should be proud of what we do.”

Discussions moved onto transparency and honesty, which were recognised as important to help farmers plan and prepare, particularly with uncertainty ahead.

Tom Hind said: “AHDB give transparent coverage about market prices through our milk price calculator and we provide forward price indications like ‘AMPE’ and ‘MCVE’ all published on our website for farmers.”

Ian Potter echoed Tom’s thoughts, “AHDB has made great strides in trying to communicate pricing and forecasts to farmers in the most transparent way.”

A major part of transparency is data collection and attention in the room quickly turned to benchmarking and data sharing.

“Data can be extremely valuable if shared more widely. Benchmarking allows farmers to collaborate and push the industry forward. Our updated web based Farmbench tool will help facilitate this for farmers,” Tom commented.

“As farmers we need to be more open to co-operation and collaboration. Once you work together, you can pull your resources together which has huge benefits. Collecting and sharing data with others is one way we can achieve this.” Rory Christie added.

Concluding the session Rodie McLean said: “It’s you that are in charge of your own future. Nobody else. We must be able to promote our own product first and foremost.”

Look out for next year’s Scottish Dairy Hub Debate at AgriScot 2019.