The agreement establishes the following:
- A guaranteed, annual average benchmark price covering all of 2018 and set at € 350 per 1,000 liters of milk purchased from APBO producers. This agreement is unique within the profession and between French dairy farmers and processors;
- The deployment by all APBO-member producers of differentiating dairy farming practices, such as GMO-free feed for dairy cow herds and greater pasture-grazing with a commitment to pasture-graze dairy cows at least 150 days a year;
- Remuneration for these differentiating practices in the form of a monthly bonus totaling € 21 per 1,000 liters of milk.
This agreement was achieved following several months of talks and consultation with the APBO, which presented its vision of a win-win partnership. It involves all 700 of APBO-member dairy farms.
The agreement offers farmers visibility by securing them revenue for the 2018 financial year, while enshrining sustainable farming practices that correspond to evolving consumer expectations.
The various provisions of the agreement will give rise in the weeks ahead to jointly prepared specifications, and APBO will arrange for their certification by an accredited body. The agreement will be included in a charter that will also include commitments on local farming to encourage and perpetuate, for example, local dairy cow feed production, environmental protection and animal welfare.
This innovative and engaging initiative reflects the partner relationship built over time by Bel and APBO. It embodies the responsible approach that the Bel Group is taking to encourage a more sustainable dairy industry.
“This agreement constitutes an important step and strengthens the co-constructive relations that we seek to forge with dairy farmers to make our industry more sustainable,” said Antoine Fiévet, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Bel Group. “Dairy farmers play a vital role in developing responsible and differentiated products for our consumers. The trust that binds us together send a strong message, and we thank our partner producers for committing along with us.”
“Uniting all farmers around a collective project that creates value and endures over the long haul is what has historically driven APBO,” said Gilles Pousse, APBO Chairman, Anne-Laure Dutertre, APBO Vice President, and Hervé Coursimault, also APBO Vice President, in a prepared statement. “For several months, we have been working tirelessly to solidify a true partnership with Bel. By offering differentiated milk, subject to certification by us, we are writing our own story and leaving behind the anxiety generating and even destructive business cycles of the past years. The Bel Group has a virtuous respect for our work and our knowhow, and we would like to see it endure and spread within the industry. We are proud of this co-constructed initiative and of truly being partner-producers now.”
In direct succession to the charter under France’s Etats Généraux de l’Alimentation (EGA) Agricultural Summit, Bel and APBO are pleased with their reciprocal commitments and hope that this agreement will encourage all players to contribute to the shared creation of value.
The Bel West Producers Association (Association des Producteurs Bel de l’Ouest — APBO) is a publicly recognized Producers Organization operating since 2012. Today, it includes over 700 farmers, or about 80% of the dairy producers who contract with Bel. Its milk collection zone encompasses several French departments, stretching from the 61st, 28th, 41st, and 53rd to the 49th and anecdotally the 35th.
APBO is made up of three NGOs linked to various historical Bel Group plants, Including the Sablé-sur-Sarthe region, represented by Gilles Pousse, the Perche region, represented by Hervé Coursimault and the Maine region, represented by Anne-Laure Dutertre.
APBO concluded a framework agreement with the Bel Group as early as 2012.
The Bel Group is a world leader in branded cheese and a major player in the healthy snack market.
Its portfolio of differentiated and internationally recognized brands, including such products as The Laughing Cow®, Kiri®, Mini Babybel®, Leerdammer®, and Boursin®, as well as some 20 local brands, led the Group to generating sales of €2.9 billion in 2016. The recent acquisition of MOM rounds out a portfolio of strong brands, notably with the addition of the Pom’Potes® and GoGo squeeZ® brands.
Over 13,000 employees in some 30 subsidiaries around the world contribute to the Group’s success.
Bel products are prepared at over 30 production sites and distributed in nearly 130 countries.