What will save UK dairy farmers? A supermarket ombudsman, greater transparency in milk supply contracts, the formation of producer organisations, or the dumping of milk to withdraw supplies? Perhaps a combination of all four will go some way to restoring some sense of fairness and balance in the milk supply chain. But, we must also promote a better understanding of the value of milk from UK dairy farms in the nation’s diet, if we are to create a dairy industry that is sustainable for all.
For some, the process of educating and informing consumers is too slow – action is needed now. However, if UK milk producers are to avoid seeing their milk being watered down in a global commodity market, we must differentiate our product. I don’t claim that Free Range Dairy has all the answers for the future of the UK dairy industry. But, by ‘mainstreaming’ the values of milk from our pasture-based herds, we can add value to our milk at the farm gate.
At a time when household budgets are being squeezed, we need to come up with some really good reasons why our milk is worth a price that will give farmers a return that will more than cover the costs of production. UK milk producers are not the only farmers in the world who graze their herds, but grass is synonymous with dairy farming in the UK and our ability to grow this wonderful feed for our cows gives us many advantages – not least a clearly identifiable system for producing milk.
Free Range Dairy is built on one simple principle – the freedom for our cows to graze grass. But, along with that freedom to live a life as nature intended, we can deliver healthy milk at an affordable price. Who wouldn’t sign up to that?