Producing and distributing food – guidance

Approved milk purchasers

This detailed guidance was withdrawn on 12 May 2016

The Milk Quota Scheme ended on 31 March 2015.

Under the Milk Quota Scheme, an approved purchaser must keep records for all of its milk producers. Find out how to apply to become a purchaser.

An approved or ‘first purchaser’ is defined as a person or firm who buys milk wholesale from a producer to:

  • treat or process (including contract processing)
  • sell on to another person or firm to treat or process

Applying for approval

You can apply for approval as a purchaser to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) by using MQ11 Application for approval as a purchaser (PDF, 194KB, 4 pages) . You should read MQ11 guidance (PDF, 165KB, 8 pages) before completing your application.

You’ll need to submit your application and all supporting financial information at least one month before you intend to start purchasing.

Approval is not automatic. Before it is granted, inspectors will visit your business premises to ensure that you can meet RPA standards.

Trader registration number

Once registered, you will be given a trader registration number, which you should use on all forms and correspondence with RPA.

Delivery figures and butterfat content

As an approved purchaser, you must submit to RPA a volume delivery figure and weighted butterfat content as a single figure for each of your producers. This must be done on a monthly basis, using MQ12 Purchaser's monthly return (PDF, 141KB, 2 pages) .

Monthly statistics

RPA uses these figures to produce cumulative total UK monthly production statistics at the beginning of each month.

You must also submit an MQ13 Purchasers annual return (PDF, 166KB, 4 pages) detailing the annual volume delivery and weighted butterfat content for each of your producers. You must also list all producers who are registered with you but who have made no deliveries during a quota year on this form.

You should read MQ13 guidance (PDF, 243KB, 16 pages) before completing your annual return.

You must keep documents relating to your business activities. These should include:

  • all books and registers
  • accounts
  • correspondence
  • commercial data

These must be kept at your premises within the UK and be accessible to authorised persons at all reasonable times.

Records about your registered producers

You must keep records about each producer registered with you. These should include their:

  • name and address
  • wholesale quota
  • allocated butterfat base

You must also keep records of any producers or undertakings who:

  • treat or process milk and/or milk products on your behalf
  • supply you with milk and/or milk products

You must also:

  • inform RPA of changes affecting your business, premises and laboratories
  • take regular samples of each product delivered by each producer and submit for testing to a laboratory approved by the RPA; use the List of RPA approved laboratories (PDF, 224KB, 3 pages) to find one

Calculating and collecting the producer levy

You must calculate and collect any levy due from each producer within your group.

This is done by:

  • calculating each producer’s volume and butterfat-adjusted delivery figures
  • adjusting each producer’s delivery figures to take account of the fat content of their deliveries
  • declaring these figures on your annual return
  • paying any levy which may be due (RPA will invoice you if there is a levy to be paid)

Keeping records and inspections

You must keep records to show how you have managed your producers’ quotas, along with details of production and sales.

RPA may need to inspect these records from time to time.

How your records are used

RPA uses your records to verify the calculation of levies as required by EC Regulations. If you cannot supply records of the milk or milk products produced or delivered in any year, RPA will:

  • make an estimate for that year using any available information
  • calculate any levies using that estimate

More guidance

You can find more detailed information in the Milk Purchasers Handbook (PDF, 1.16MB, 82 pages) or contact the RPA’s Milk Quotas Section on: 01392 315763.