The Milk Suppliers Association (MSA) is a Co-operative made up of 131 dairy farmers based throughout South West Scotland that supply approximately 210 million litres of milk per annum to a creamery in Stranraer owned by Lactalis. Lactalis is a leading global dairy business and the largest European milk processor. The creamery at Stranraer produces a range of cheddar cheeses under the brands Seriously Strong, Galloway and McLelland. Cheese is also supplied to retailers for their individual own label brands.
Up until 2012 the farmer group acted on an informal basis with a board of invited farmers acting as a liaison committee. At this point, there was a significant level of dissatisfaction from dairy farmers across the UK about the price of milk and an initiative led by local farmers resulted in the formation of the MSA. The Scottish Government and SAOS both provided assistance to help establish the group. Lactalis also supported its development. The MSA is now an officially constituted Co-operative which has a democratically elected Board of Directors to act on behalf of their members. The purpose of the MSA is:
To achieve our purpose, the MSA undertakes a number of activities that include:
The MSA gives members a stronger voice in the market and political developments, access to the latest market information, and delivers new initiatives and opportunities for innovation.
Hamish Walls. Hamish is a Project Manager for SAOS. He helped the group through their initial stages of formation and now provides the MSA with secretarial and other professional services.
Steve Bradley. Steve Bradley is a dairy industry consultant who provides independent milk price information and is an expert on producer milk contracts.
The MSA has been able to access funds from the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund to assist 30 MSA members. This project seeks to reduce cost and help members save money using a new approach which has been tried and tested in other industries. It has also been successfully piloted on two dairy farms in Scotland.