About us

SAOS was established in 1905 to strengthen the profitability and effectiveness of Scotland’s farming and rural businesses through co-operation.

What we do

We are Scotland’s experts on farmer co-ops and food industry collaboration. We provide a range of specialist information, development and consultancy services.


We are a development organisation owned by our members. We provide a range of specialist services that our members have requested, that are not available elsewhere. Discover how we can help you.

Milk Suppliers Association

We’ve helped members of the MSA in a variety of ways.


MSA is a Co-operative made up of 131 dairy farmers based throughout South West Scotland. MSA supplies approximately 210 million litres of milk per annum to a creamery in Stranraer owned by Lactalis. Lactalis is a leading global dairy business and the largest European milk processor. The creamery at Stranraer produces a range of cheddar cheeses under the brands Seriously Strong, Galloway and McLelland. Cheese is also supplied to retailers for their individual own label brands.


MSA was established to represent members and, on their behalf, negotiate improved terms and conditions of the milk contract and payments. As part of its work, the MSA employed professional milk pricing expertise. This work had previously been done by a group of invited farmers who were not democratically elected by their peers.

Established as a forum for members to discuss issues, and opportunities to improve the profitability and sustainability of their businesses, MSA has been very proactive undertaking projects with members including data benchmarking, management account analysis and trialling the adoption of ‘lean management’ on dairy farms.

What impact?

MSA has become well established and now holds regular meetings with their customer Lactalis and other industry stakeholders, employs specific expertise on milk contracts and pricing, provides Directors with appropriate training and help support Lactalis in their marketing.

How did SAOS help?

SAOS has been able to support MSA with the following expertise:

  • drafting a proposal and prospectus
  • supporting the Steering Committee during meetings with farmers to establish the co-op
  • drafting up the co-op constitution and ‘rules’
  • undertaking Director and officeholder training
  • undertaking company secretarial and support services
  • providing access to dairy supply chain networks and expertise
  • providing marketing and strategic business advice
  • identifying and secure development project funding
  • undertaking dedicated project management
  • drafting regular member communications
  • producing end of year accounts