Friesland Foods Board condemns DDB action

30 May 2008

The Board of the Friesland Foods dairy cooperative have condemned the Dutch Dairymen Board actions.

By 10.00 hrs on Friday, 30 May, approximately 260 of the 9,400 dairy farmers had announced that they would not be supplying milk. Dairy farmers have kept the Friesland Foods Fresh production facility in Nijkerk blocked with tractors since 10.30 hrs on Friday, 30 May, thus stopping dairy deliveries from the facility to supermarkets. Access to the facility was also blocked for several hours on Tuesday, 27 May. The blockade of the production facility and the deliveries from the facility is resulting in significant damages for Friesland Foods, damages that will also have a direct impact on the income of all member dairy farmers of the Friesland Foods dairy cooperative.
Sybren Attema, chairman of the Board of the Friesland Foods dairy cooperative: “Representatives of the Friesland Foods Board and Board of Management and DDB representatives have held numerous discussions in the past few years. During these discussions, Friesland Foods have repeatedly told the DDB that we share its concerns regarding income developments in dairy farming. However, we condemn the manner in which the DDB is protesting and we reject the DDB’s demand for payment of a milk price that covers costs. Friesland Foods is a cooperative and, as Friesland Foods has repeatedly stated, members of the cooperative can make their standpoints known via the cooperative’s existing member bodies.”

Friesland Foods finds the solution offered by the DDB unrealistic. The DDB wishes to calculate the milk price paid to the dairy farmers by a cooperative / concern based on a theoretical cost-price calculation. The cooperative / concern must then try to sell the dairy products made from this milk above that price.
Attema: “Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. We are a cooperative and have been a cooperative for more than 125 years. Friesland Foods processes milk on behalf of its members into a large number of products that are sold around the world. The prices at which these products are sold are based on supply and demand. A large majority of our 9,400 members support the current policy.
The milk price system changed this year, with the support of a large majority of our members. We guarantee that we will collect milk from our members and we also guarantee competitive milk prices. These guarantees were agreed in mutual consultation. Friesland Foods makes every effort, everyday, to sell its products at the highest possible prices in the market. The Dutch Dairymen Board demands a price, but is not giving any guarantees for market demand. And market demand is the problem here.”