The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) has welcomed details released by the government on regulations that will mean farmers are paid appropriately for their produce. 

The regulations are set to come into force later this year and will help ensure supply contracts in the dairy sector are fair and transparent,

The new rules will help farmers challenge prices, stop contract changes from being imposed without an agreement, and ensure farmers can more easily raise concerns. 

They have been developed using new powers under the Agriculture Act 2020. The government has worked alongside industry, farmers and processors to ensure they address previous concerns and provide tailored support for those in the industry. 

Farmers will have clearer pricing terms, with contracts setting out the factors which generate the milk price and allowing farmers to challenge prices if they feel this process isn't being followed. The government says this is is a major advance in transparency, which ensures fairer pricing and addresses historical discrepancies in the dairy industry. 

Changes to contracts cannot be imposed on farmers without their agreement, providing stability and trust in the supply chain. This will encourage dialogue between the parties where changes do need to be made – improving trust within the supply chain. 

Farmers' contracts will all include a straightforward way to raise concerns about their contracts, promoting accountability and timely issue resolution. 

There will be clear rules on notice periods and contractual exclusivity, protecting the rights of both buyers and sellers. This will remove any ambiguity from contracts and protect the rights of both buyers and sellers. 

An enforcement mechanism is created to guarantee the regulations are followed, ensuring a fully fair and transparent dairy industry on a solid foundation to thrive in the future. 

Farming Minister Mark Spencer described the regulations as a 'key milestone'. 

He said: "Farmers must be paid a fair price for their produce and these regulations will provide price certainty and stability for farmers by establishing written milk purchase agreements with clear and unambiguous terms. 

"This represents a key milestone in our commitment to promote fairness and transparency across food supply chains to support farmers and build a stronger future for the industry." 

RABDF Chairman Di Wastenage added: "These new regulations will help offer much-needed security to dairy farmers, giving them the confidence and security to invest in their future and help build a stronger and more resilient dairy sector. 

"It is good to see the dairy sector leading the way, with similar regulations to be developed across other farming sectors," she said.  

NFU dairy board chair Michael Oakes said: "These new regulations mark a significant step forward in the government’s efforts to increase fairness and transparency in the dairy supply chain.

"For a long time, unfair milk contracts have held British dairy businesses back, and these changes will give dairy farmers much needed business security and confidence, as well as helping to share risk along the dairy supply chain."

The government says the regulations form part of a strategy to grow a thriving British food and drink sector which will put more British produce on supermarket shelves in the UK and worldwide.