Next week I am holding the first in a series of three meetings to bring together Free Range Dairy farmers who have made the Pasture Promise, with two further meetings planned in the Midlands and South West England, where we have the biggest numbers of farmers signed up.
I am keen to establish regional groups who can work together to promote the Free Range Dairy movement and explore opportunities to market free range milk. The time has come for us to establish a formal organisation that can offer membership to a broad cross section of individuals and organisations who support our cause, register a certification mark, bid for funding and enable consumers to choose milk from grazed herds.
There are still one or two things I want to agree with the nucleus of farmers who have helped us get this far, such as winter feeding standards for free range herds. I believe that whilst people understand the need to house cows on farms during the winter months (in the same way that free range hens are housed at night), we must ensure that grass continues to provide the majority of the diet for our herds during the housed period. We therefore need to look at placing limits on the amount of cereals, soya and other forages (maize / wholecrop silage) fed to cows, to ensure there is real integrity in our milk.
Invitations to the meetings are being restricted to farmers who have signed up to the Pasture Promise, but I will feedback the discussions we have via the website, so that everyone can keep up to date with developments. More and more people are talking about Free Range Dairy but I want to make sure it remains a farmer-led movement and that means farmers have to put their hands up. If you haven’t made the Promise yet please do – you can do this online or contact me and I will send out a paper form. Either way, it takes less than five minutes to complete.
Telephone: 07801 507101