As you may already have heard, I am very fortunate to have been selected as one of the three finalists in this year’s BBC Food & Farming Awards. Along with Luke Hasell who runs The Story Group specialising in delivering organic food direct to the public and Steven Jack, an innovative carrot and potato grower from Scotland, I was nominated for the Outstanding Farmer of the Year Award.
To be honest I think my selection has more to do with my passion for the dairy industry than any outstanding achievement. But, regardless, it’s a real honour to be recognised for what I am working towards.
Two weeks ago the judges, Adam Henson and Mike Gooding visited the farm with a cameraman, to record a slot of for a forthcoming episode of Countryfile, which will profile all three finalists. Anna Jones also came along to record an interview with Adam Henson for BBC Radio 4’s On Your Farm which was aired at 6.30am today. The day started grey and murky and I had visions of having to point out ghostly shapes of cows in the mist. However, during the morning, the sun came out and Adam and the team were able to walk amongst contented cows as they munched on lush green grass – just what Free Range Dairy is all about. I’m pleased to say that after the wettest winter on record, things are drying up, the cows are enjoying the freedom of the great outdoors night and day and we are all happy to feel the sun on our backs.
If you follow this link you can hear the interview in full. I hope I managed to convey something about the journey that has led me to set up Free Range Dairy and ambitions I have for raising the awareness of the value of the pasture-based dairy herds that define British milk.
There is an enormous opportunity for farmers to work together and promote the real value of the milk and dairy products they deliver. I am up against two very innovative and inspirational contenders for this year’s award. But, I hope that getting this far will raise the profile of British dairy farmers and help consumers make an informed choice about the milk and dairy products they buy.