My apologies for not having found time to update you on what is happening with Free Range Dairy for so long. I had a pretty busy last quarter in 2013 including the sad loss of my Dad after his long running battle with cancer at the end of October. Sometimes, you just have to put other things first.
But, here we are, starting out in 2014, with so many exciting things to do – including a big push to raise the profile of Free Range Dairy. My belief and commitment to promoting British dairy farming has never wavered. In fact, my resolve is only strengthened by the steady flow of news that highlights the valuable role pasture-based milk (and meat) production has to play in safeguarding a sustainable supply of healthy food for our nation.
This year I will be embarking on a mission to explore how we can raise output and cut costs on farms, by making better use of the natural resources we have at our disposal. That starts with looking beneath the surface, understanding our soils and getting them working for us. I am learning that we have a whole ecosystem down there that will work for us if we look after it. This doesn’t mean I am suddenly advocating organic or biodynamic farming for all, but there is a lot we can learn form these guys to help us become more efficient on our farms.
I will also be following, with interest, new developments in milk testing that are revealing not all milk is the same. It appears that nothing can quite deliver what grazing can. Not only does turning cows out to pasture provide them with the freedom they deserve, but it also gives us the kind of healthy milk we want to consume. No big surprises there!
So, my aims for 2014 are simple:
- Get hundreds of farmers to identify themselves as free range
- Make everyone aware of what free range milk production can deliver
I don’t need everyone to tour the country explaining the real value of cows in fields (although any help would be welcome). What I really need in the coming year is your support and anyone can get involved.
If you are a farmer who wants recognition for grazing your cows simply sign up and declare yourself free range.
If you are a consumer who wants assurance that you are buying milk and dairy from grazed herds, start asking for it wherever you shop.
If you are a researcher making exciting discoveries about the role of grass and grazing in milk production, tell us.
If you are a milk processor, retailer, or anyone selling milk and dairy products ask us about connecting you with local Free Range Dairy farmers.
If you are a commercial organisation, NGO, or philanthropic individual who believes in the Free Range Dairy cause, please pledge your support.
2014 looks like being a very busy year. Please get involved in revolutionising the British dairy industry. There is a lot to do but, together, we can begin to win the badly needed value in our dairy farms and provide a long term solution for future food security.