Last Tuesday (16th April) I was invited to present my ideas for Free Range Dairy to MP’s at an event organised by the All Party Political Group (APPG) on Agroecology, in The Houses of Parliament. Also present were 10 other farmers and organisations promoting sustainable farming.
For some farmers ecology does mean aggro – busy bodies getting in the way of progress. However, whilst I farm in what most would regard as a ‘conventional’ manner, I am becoming much more receptive to the idea that Agroecology can deliver the goods – healthy yields of milk and meat with a positive impact on the farmed environment. Forget images of enlightened types sporting beards and sandals, there is some really good evidence to show that profit and sustainability do go hand in hand.
At the APPG event I was very fortunate to have the chance to talk about Free Range Dairy with Food and Farming Minister David Heath, Shadow Food and Farming Minister Huw Irranca-Davies, Neil Parrish MP and a number of other politicians who are responsible for implementing policy on UK farming. It’s really important that farmers are able to inform those who will shape future policy on food and farming about what is happening out in the fields, if we are to avoid over-simplistic assumptions being made about what our farms could and should deliver.
There will be plenty of pro-industrial propaganda swirling around the corridors of Parliament, which threatens to diminish the value of the farms we have today. Our pasture-based dairy farms are as much a part of our nation’s future as they are of its past. Add your voice to the Free Range Dairy initiative and help us make everyone aware of the value of milk and dairy products from grazing herds.