Promising outlook announced by OMSCo
The Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo), reported a successful year-end at their annual members conference, with an average increase of 1.65ppl in member returns for the financial year ending 31st March 2018.
At the ‘OMSCo Together’ event, which achieved record attendance from members, chairman, Nicholas Saphir, announced that the current financial year is also progressing well.
“Although we anticipate considerably more organic milk becoming available in continental Europe over the coming months, and have witnessed oversupply in the USA, UK demand has recovered and we’re successfully balancing demand with supply,” he says. “We’re continuing to manage the challenges of the global dairy market with the potential impact of an impending Brexit.”
OMSCo’s strategy to spread risk through international market and product diversification remains key to their success. Over the past five years the cooperative has secured global alliances with Organic Valley and Eko Holland, and partnerships with UK and European processors including Wyke and Alpavit, all of whom were featured at the conference.
“We also believe there are growing opportunities for OMSCo's award-winning, USDA-certified cheese brand, Organic Kingdom, and organic butter in the USA.”
With 25% of the milk produced by OMSCo approved by the USDA for export to the USA, Nicholas is confident this will be an increasing part of the long-term business strategy. However, he acknowledges the risk that may arise should the government be unable to secure ongoing recognition of UK standards and a mutually acceptable future trade agreement.
“Dairy farming exports to Europe and the continuing use of toll processing, will solely depend on whether there is a hard, soft, or transitional Brexit,” he says.
“However, we continue to make progress through government lobbying, to ensure the mutual recognition of standards with the USDA once we leave the EU. The big challenge will be to see this recognition with Europe by 30th March 2019.”
Nicholas’ speech was followed by comments from Mark Garnier MP - previously minister of the Department of International Trade and recently appointed to be the UK’s regional trade envoy to the US - who says the UK needs to think ‘more globally’, to capitalise on the ‘brave new world’ post-Brexit.
“There is strong demand for high-quality agricultural produce from UK farms, but we need to change our culture to one that seeks out global opportunities,” he says.
“With UK exports currently equating to around 27% of GDP - much lower than comparable economies such as Germany - we need to improve our export performance. Through the Trade Department, the government provides 186 offices in 107 countries around the world, to specifically help British exporters do just that,” he adds.
With aspirations for over 40% of OMSCo’s future sales to come from exports and added-value dairy products, and 2019 marking the cooperative’s 25th year, Nicholas is positive about the future.
“As we focus on maintaining strategic relationships and existing trade agreements in Europe, we will also continue to drive opportunities for organic dairy on a global level.”
Beth Dixon, Pinstone Communications, E: email@example.com, T: 01568 617623 or M: 07460 936342
Hannah Rose, Pinstone Communications, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, T: 01568 617664
Notes to editors:
The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative (OMSCo) was formed in 1994 by a group of dairy farmers with a shared belief that there was a ‘better way to farm’. Now, nearly twenty-five years old, the passion and belief of those original members has inspired others; OMSCo has transformed its member base, customer base and market reach.
It is now the largest UK organic dairy co-operative and the second largest dedicated organic milk pool in the world. It is the longest established organic dairy co-operative in the UK, with an annual turnover of £100m and remains the only national 100% organic farmer-owned and farmer-run British dairy co-operative in the UK with 270 members.
OMSCo supplies the majority of the UK’s organic dairy processing needs and is the leading dairy exporter of organic raw milk, bulk ingredients, specialist ingredients and consumer products. OMSCo has also established itself as the only UK supplier of organic whey.
To spread risk OMSCo has created diverse and geographical spread markets, and as part of this strategy they were the first European dairy company under the EU-US Equivalency Agreement, to sell USDA certified organic dairy products in the US.
Effective trading partnerships are a cornerstone of OMSCo’s growth strategy and in 2013 OMSCo partnered with US organic giant Organic Valley, the world’s largest dedicated organic milk pool and $1bn brand at retail, to drive its US export business. In 2015 OMSCo and Organic Valley agreed a mutual financial stake in each other’s co-operatives, cementing a long-term alliance.
In 2017 OMSCo announced a second global strategic supply alliance with Europe’s third largest dedicated milk pool, Eko Holland.
A new joint venture with Somerset based cheddar maker Wyke Farms was also announced in 2017, operating under a joint business identity, The British Organic Dairy Company, the collaboration combines organic dairy excellence from OMSCo, with award winning standards from the most sustainable cheese maker in the world.