ARLA Foods amba (AFa), the parent of Arla Foods, the UK dairy company with a turnover in excess of £2billion, has almost doubled the number of farmer owners in the UK.
On January 1 an additional 1,300 farmers across the country became co-owners of the world’s sixth largest dairy company, giving them access to international dairy markets.
Europe’s largest and most progressive dairy co-operative is now owned by a global network of 13,500 farmers, of which 2,800 are British.
Jonathan Ovens, chairman of the new farmer owner group and British farmer director at AFa , said: “This is a momentous achievement.
“We have been working for ten years to become full members of the Arla cooperative.
“Arla is committed to delivering a sustainable future for its farmers and, through our ownership, we will receive the leading UK milk price.”
The co-operative has a major global investment programme, including £500 million in the UK in the last five years, with £150 million in a new state-of-the-art dairy in Aylesbury.
Johnnie Russell, another British farmer director of AFa, said: “With quota abolition next year, which is likely to result in a huge upsurge in European milk production, it is essential that British farmers are able to benefit from returns from world markets.
“Arla is the only UK business with a strategy in place whereby farmers can tap into a broader marketplace for dairy products.”
Ash Amirahmadi, head of milk and member services at Arla Foods, said: “Arla sells its products in more than 100 countries worldwide.
“Our farmer owners in the UK now have access to them.
We are seeing demand growing in developing markets such as Asia and other regions.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to turn British milk into an impressive array of products for home and overseas consumption.”
On December 17, Arla traded Westbury skimmed milk powder on the Global Dairy Trade auction (GDT), making it the first company to trade British dairy products on the GDT. In December alone the price of skimmed milk powder rose by 1.7 per cent to £2,870 per metric tonne.