A record-breaking count of 284 farmers have left multi-national dairy conglomerate FrieslandCampina between July 2021 and July 2022. The previous record, set between the years 2018/2019, was 230 departures, as reported by the Dutch Milk Foundation (DMF).
One of the key reasons for the departures, according to the DMF, is so-called ‘new member financing’, wherein new, fast growing young farmers are required to purchase delivery certificates. These certificates cost 8 cents per kilo of milk: a rather high cost, especially for dairy farmers just starting out.
The DMF, in addition to providing statistics on farmer operations in the Netherlands, also acts as a representative body for farmer interests by checking the compliance of conglomerates such as FrieslandCampina regarding conditions set by the European Commission. Namely, following a merger between Friesland Foods and Campina in 2008, the commission demanded that the conglomerate make 1.2 billion kilos of milk available for the free market, and that departing farmers receive a premium of 5 cents per kilo of milk.
In total 724 farmers have decided to end their relationships with FrieslandCampina since the merger in 2008 at the cost of 832 million kilos of milk. The conglomerate, at present, represents about 10,500 dairy farms that produce close to 10 billion kilos of milk annually.
Many of the departing farmers have switched to A-ware, a competing dairy production conglomerate, said DMF secretary Rob Hessing, as reported by the Leeuwarder Courant. The exact numbers, and concrete statements on the transfers, however, remain unavailable to the public as of the writing of this article.
FrieslandCampina recently celebrated its 150th anniversary and remains one of the primary dairy conglomerates in the Netherlands, as well as on the mainland European continent. How the record-breaking loss of farmers will impact the dairy giant will become evident in the upcoming weeks.