Time to get serious about leaving

Arla Food UK’s managing director Tomas Pietrangeli has posted his version of Luther’s 95 theses about Brexit, in a call to action for both the farming and the processing community in the UK. His letter was not as exhaustive as Martin Luther’s was, but it was important nevertheless – if only to remind everyone that no matter what happens in 2017, if the dairy community is divided, it will be conquered when dealing with the European Union and the thorny problems that will arise with Brexit. “My call to the industry at this time of uncertainty is to talk with one voice, and I’ll be working in the coming months to continue developing ideas about how this can be done. We must also research and develop a clear fact-base to fully understand the impact of each scenario, and not be shy about putting our collective voice out there once we have done so,” he states.

This one voice can be very helpful. As we have seen in the past, if there is a unified vision, the public and government respond to it. Infighting between processors and farmers gets us nowhere. As many companies are made up of farmers, it is also decidedly counterproductive. A united front is easier for government ministers and people of influence to understand and to react to.

Another item is that as an industry, we mustn’t let any governmental indecision and noise become our own. The industries that do best will adjust quickly to the new landscape and hopefully will see benefits to this uproar. In some ways, the dairy industry is well placed to do that, as we have had to deal with price volatility on a landmark scale over the past several years. We know we can ride tumultuous waves, and let’s not forget that dairy prices are on the upswing now. Big waves are good surfing for those who know what they’re doing.

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