Monday, 17 October 2011

Free Range Dairy Initiative; British Dairying Magazine Article

In this months' issue of 'British Dairying' which arived at the breakfast table this morning there was an excellent article by Neil Darwent of Lordswood Farm proposing a new intitiative to promote the image of milk & dairy farmers in the UK. Mr. Darwent is setting up a Free Range Dairy (FRD) initiative which hightlights the real value of British milk being produced by cows grazing grass in fields. This may seem a fairly obvious notion but with the recent planning applications for mega-dairies in which the cows are kept in sheds and never see a blade of grass something needs to be done whereby the comsumer is told the truth about farmers & their herds in Britain and thereby putting real value into our product. We find that with many of our visitors ther is an anxiety that milk in Britain is produced or will be produced in large mega-dairies. For those of us who are at the smaller end of the milk production scale this is very important stuff. While many consumers may believe that their milk comes from grazing cows the dairy industry as a whole may not maintain that perception as greater intensification looms. If British dairy farmers can use their integrity & build on the fact that our nutritious,wholesome & delicious product comes from  fields of grass there would be no need for added ingredients or ridiculous processing such as filtering for pseudo benefits.
Mr Darwent feels that there is a 'growing air of inevitability about our future milk supply coming from fewer and larger farms' but that attention must be returned to value in order to preserve our diverse dairy industry. How right he is.

Walking the dogs this morning I wandered through our herd of milking cows, who took no notice of us, and relished being among these large animals as they grazed on the lush aftermath on one of our silage fields,
The noise of them pulling at the grass and chewing it along with smell of grass and warm cow is something quite special at very close quarters.

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