I don’t think anyone could have predicted how 2022 has gone for the dairy sector.
We have seen milk prices head towards 50ppl, and costs of production reaching similar levels, with almost hourly changes to input costs.
So, what will 2023 bring for the dairy sector?
I won’t attempt to predict what the markets will do (or how many different Defra Secretary of States we will see) as we know how incredibly volatile these things are at the moment.
However, we do anticipate that in the medium to long-term dairy demand around the world will keep growing, but milk production will not keep up.
“We need trade and regulatory policy to support the dairy industry to help it to compete at a global level”
NFU Dairy Board chair Michael Oakes
Doubling exports over the next decade
This is why we have spent a considerable amount of time in 2022 pushing forward our dairy export strategy, with the ambition to double our dairy exports in the next 10 years.
We need trade and regulatory policy to support our industry to allow it to compete at a global level.
We know that British dairy farmers work hard to produce safe, sustainable and high-quality produce for both our domestic consumers and for emerging export markets around the world.
Building exports takes time, but this work will continue into 2023, and we are pleased to have built a strong rapport with the Department for International Trade during the past year. This will help us work with the wider dairy industry to drive forward and grow dairy exports, while ensuring we do not undermine our domestic production.
Up for the sustainability challenge
Another agenda which will continue at pace over the next year is sustainability.
The pressure from consumers and the supply chain on the dairy sector will continue to grow, and we have to rise to the challenge.
Fortunately, the work of the industrywide Dairy Roadmap helps to put us in a good position to respond to a lot of these questions, demonstrate best practice and prepare for the future.
However, we also need to ensure the financial sustainability of the sector.
2023 should also see a key piece of work to improve dairy contracts move forward into legislation.
To support this work, we are also focusing on farmer collaboration to improve relationships in the supply chain.
There will be more challenges ahead, but the NFU will continue working hard on your behalf to ensure the best future for our dairy farmer members