Firstly, ‘What is Free Range Dairy?’ Free Range Dairy is a defined farming system founded on the production of milk from traditional dairy farms, where cows are free to graze in fields during the spring and summer months. We’re also a community interest company set up to raise awareness of the true value of traditional British dairy farms. We work with farmers and dairies to offer consumers a more informed choice by bringing free range milk to the market. The Pasture Promise logo means that all milk and dairy products carrying the trademark have been produced to the Free Range Dairy Network standards. The main one being that cows graze on pasture for a minimum of 180 days (6 months). Our standards have been developed with the help and advice from NSF International and they independently assess the standards on Free Range Dairy farms.
Our three core values are freedom for cows to graze, recognition and reward for traditional dairy farmers and an informed choice for consumers.
In the last ten years, we have seen 4,000 dairy farmers go out of business. This Christmas we’re looking at a dairy shortage of cream, cheese and butter. So many dairy farmers have gone out of business due to cheap milk that didn’t cover the cost of production for the farmers. This is the writing on the wall for our dairy farmers unless we look after them. We ensure that they are paid a levy above the cost of milk and we are fighting to deliver even more back to farmers as the sales increase.
One issue we have is retailers using pictures of cows in fields to sell milk is that it could have come from large intensive farms. It’s why we joined the campaign Labelling Matters, as we want to see clearer labelling to help people make a more informed choice when shopping for milk and dairy. We believe there are lots of people out there who want milk from free range cows that graze in fields, we just want to make it easier to find that milk.
Which brings me onto ‘Where can I buy it?’. I find it really encouraging that when people find out about Free Range Dairy Network they then ask how they can buy free range milk. We have a map on the website that we’re always updating as more and more people join the network and more and more people want to buy milk carrying the Pasture Promise logo. In fact it’s the most visited page on our website.
What Free Range Dairy Network is all about it getting people to make the link between what free range cows and milk really stands for, not a token gesture but a real commitment to protecting and promoting a cleaner, more sustainable farming system. We want people to understand the true value of cows in fields and give you the chance to enjoy great tasting milk that the supermarkets and big dairies are denying you.
To answer any other questions about Free Range Dairy Network we’ve compiled a question and answer page and we’re using #notallmilkisthesame to draw attention to the fact that not all milk is the same.