In 1994, after 61 years, the UK’s Milk Marketing Boards were disbanded. One consequence, an increase in the variation of milk price paid to producers, is analysed here. Initially most milk producers joined the farmer‐owned co‐operative Milk Marque, accepting lower milk prices (estimated here at about 1.5 ppl in the 1997 milk quota year). A second analysis shows that these farmers accepted this lower milk price because of Milk Marque’s perceived financial security, and to support the principle of co‐operative marketing which they believed would protect milk prices in the long run. Milk Marque was dismantled in 2000 principally because of its planned enlargement of vertically integrated processing capacity. This has left dairy farmers at another crossroads; their choices now will shape the development of the marketing of milk in England and Wales for the foreseeable future. These options are discussed.
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