The recent background to the UK market for organic milk is reviewed to establish the background to the Organic Dairy Production: A Sustainable Future for Organic Dairying conference held in March 2002. The presentations given at that conference are critically reviewed. Several of arguably the most important determinants of the sustainable future of organic dairying did not find their full expression at that conference. Issues largely or wholly excluded include: a priori evidence for expecting a higher level of co‐operation among organic than conventional farmers; the distinction between “competitive pricing” and “sustainable pricing”; import penetration and substitution, and post‐conversion subsidies; utilising innovative information technologies to “tell the organic story”; policing organic standards and traceability; and the ownership of the “organic label” and the number of organic standard bodies. The importance of these issues is shown by reference to the current market situation for organic milk in the UK. There is a need for considerable developments in the marketing of organic milk. More distance must be placed between associations that campaign for market growth and an organisation that will need to be appointed to take responsibility for providing reliable and impartial market‐based information.
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