Members from both Houses of Parliament and across the political spectrum have formed a new Dairy All Party Parliamentary Group.
The group will focus on supporting the development of a sustainable and profitable dairy supply chain and will debate key issues for the industry.
Under the chairmanship of food and farming champion Neil Parish MP, the group will undertake a comprehensive work programme including an inquiry in November this year into the 'sustainable competitiveness of the industry in the UK'.
The group will also visit a dairy farm and processing plant in December where it will be briefed on the industry's 'Farm to Fork' approach and be given a demonstration of latest dairy technology and developments on animal health and welfare.
The group held its first meeting at the House of Commons today and outlined its work programme. Dairy UK and The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers will provide the secretariat for the group which has attracted parliamentarians from across the UK.
Neil Parish MP for Tiverton and Honiton said: "The dairy sector is a great British industry which employs several thousands of people and produces a tremendous array of nutritious food. It is right that this contribution to the nation's health and economy is recognised by parliament and that all political parties are fully up to speed with developments within the dairy industry. We have an extensive programme of work and I am delighted that so many parliamentarians have embraced the establishment of this group so enthusiastically."
Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said: "The establishment of an APPG on dairy is a step change in the recognition of the importance of the industry and the wide range of safe, wholesome and nutritious foods it produces. We want to improve the understanding of the issues and challenges dairy encounters through active engagement and unprecedented dialogue between members of the APPG, the dairy industry and independent contributors. This will be in the interest of industry as it continues to serve the needs of consumers across the UK."
Nick Everington, Chief Executive of RABDF, said: “RABDF is very supportive of the Dairy APPG. It will provide the industry with direct access to MPs interested in the dairy sector to discuss immediate issues, as well as those for the long term benefit of British dairy producers. We are delighted to be working with Dairy UK as a joined up supply chain. The future has to be farmers working closely with processors in order ensure they match their requirements.”