Yesterday’s (11 October) rejection by the Holstein UK board of a proposal for a new annual dairy event has been branded ‘very disappointing’ by the Council of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.

The Council has also stated it remains confused by many of the assertions made by Holstein UK in its announcement, in which its board decision was revealed.

The Council said: “We, the RABDF Council, supported the proposal for the new event at an extraordinary meeting held yesterday afternoon. But it now appears that at the Holstein UK board meeting, held in parallel, members voted against the proposal, essentially sinking the deal for good.

“While we actually initiated discussions with Holstein UK over a year ago, the proposal itself, which has been put together by teams from both RABDF and Holstein UK in the past three months with significant support from the industry, would have seen a new national event run by a joint venture between the two organisations. The talks have been constructive and business-like throughout, and at no point have any of the issues alleged in Holstein UK’s statement been raised, which leaves us all the more baffled. 

“A joint venture was recognised as the best way to accommodate the very different structures of the two organisations while completely protecting them both from any financial impact from each other or the event. Various pricing models were offered in the confidential final report, which certainly did not commit to any increases. 

“Furthermore, while we would have been happy to have allowed auditors access to our full accounts, at no point was this requested by Holstein UK.”

RABDF chair, Mike King added that the teams developing the vision for the new event had exciting ideas about how the dairy industry could be supported and invigorated by the new ‘super show’. “They were completely focused on the future and what would be best for the industry. Both organisations made significant concessions to ensure the new event would meet a variety of needs. 

“The Council now fears it’s going to be dairy farmers and the industry at large that will lose out at a time when the industry is recovering from an unprecedented recession.”

Mr King said RABDF’s focus would now return to delivering its National Dairy Event, scheduled to be held on 6 September 2017 at The NEC, and its other work promoting ways to build a more resilient industry for the future as well as working with other national organisations to ensure the best outcome is achieved for UK dairy farmers through the BREXIT process. 

“Our campaign on the importance of migrant labour provision for the sector is particularly pertinent at the moment, as is our new work on antibiotic use. RABDF is working to review and enhance its day-to-day activities for the benefit of the industry, and an announcement on strategic developments will be made soon,” added Mr King.