The ongoing issues with Milk Contracts for many beleaguer farmers received a substantial legal boost in the High Court recently.
Watson Dairies had its injunction against milk production cooperative Meadow Milk dismissed by the High Court. They had sought to prevent farmers selling milk elsewhere after they had served the Dairy notice under their agreements. For sixteen dairy farmers the notice expired on the 30 September and the Dairy had obtained an interim injunction to prevent the farmers from selling their milk to a new end user whilst a wider contractual dispute was going through the courts. When the matter returned to court on the 6 October, it was ruled that the injunction should not be maintained.
The NFU Chief Dairy Advisor James Osman gave witness evidence explaining the operation of the dairy industry to the court, and the general view of the NFU in relation to parties financial positions in relation to fairness in contracts including pricing and length of notice required.
The unequal position of individual farmers when seeking contracts with dairies and other end users was once again highlighted by this case, which demonstrates that when farmers combine together they can obtain a 'level playing field'.
The contractual dispute is still on going.
Butcher & Barlow Agriculture team works closely with both the Commercial team, to give advice to dairy producers upon the terms of any current or new contracts or agreements, or in the event that a dispute arises with the Dispute Resolution team.
Mike Bracegirdle, who heads our Agricultural Department has many years of practical experience in all farming scenarios, Justin Kelly head of the Corporate and Commercial team with all aspects of commercial agreements, and Alex Sandland who heads up Commercial Dispute Resolution in advising on contentious situations.
Our advice is not limited to dairy contracts. We can assist with agreements for potato/crisp contracts, sugar beet and all rearing agreements.
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