A model free range egg supply contract is being launched in a bid to boost fairness and confidence in the sector.
The British Free Range Egg Producers’ Association (BFREPA) is launching the model contract for its members to use with packers.
Association chief executive Robert Gooch said many of the contracts he had seen from producers “aren’t worth the paper they are written on”.
He said it was vital producers had “rock-solid agreements in place” at a time when the average price producers receive has fallen from £1 a dozen in March 2015 to 82p a dozen in March 2018.
“Supply contracts are the foundation of most free range egg businesses but it is alarming to see so many examples with no reference to the price producers will be paid for their product,” said Mr Gooch.
“My members need to know where they stand so they can continue to invest in their businesses to make them more efficient and maintain the excellent standards of welfare we see on British free range farms.
“Our vision is that all free range egg businesses have fair, meaningful contracts which guarantee a supply of high quality free range eggs to consumers at a sustainable price for producers.”
Mr Gooch has called on BFREPA members to send him copies of their contracts so terms can be assessed by specialist lawyers.
He said all contracts should include a clear commitment to egg prices, or terms linked to the fluctuating price of feed.
In addition, notice periods and procedures for the transfer of accreditation scheme rights at the end of a contract should be examined, added Mr Gooch.
He said producers had experienced a “tough summer” with farm gate prices falling due to an oversupply in the market, and a 50% rise in feed bills.