Lessons from 1924

 Vladimir Lenin Coincidence is a curious thing. My mother was showing a few family heirlooms to my wife yesterday and stumbled across a fascinating document produced by the NFU in 1924. This was the year that Lenin died and was buried in Moscow’s Red Square, the 8th Olympic Games were held in Paris, Ramsey MacDonald…

Protest and Promotion

  What will save UK dairy farmers? A supermarket ombudsman, greater transparency in milk supply contracts, the formation of producer organisations, or the dumping of milk to withdraw supplies? Perhaps a combination of all four will go some way to restoring some sense of fairness and balance in the milk supply chain. But, we must…

Dairy crisis – SOS Dairy

  I don’t think anyone anticipated the strength of feeling surrounding recent milk price cuts that was demonstrated by around 3,000 dairy farmers who made the trip to London Dairy Summit last week – least of all Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, Mr Jim Paice MP. There were many who attended last Wednesday…

Emergency Dairy Summit

The National Farmers Union (NFU) have organised a meeting in London today (11th July) to discuss the recent milk price cuts, which threaten the future of many UK dairy farms. It is anticipated that over 1,000 farmers will attend and that they will demand a fair price for the milk they produce. It’s not easy…

Creaming off the profit

In a week that has left dairy farmers feeling that their milk is worthless, my mood was not helped by this summer offer in Sainsburys. It seems that cream is so cheap that it is now being given away by retailers, in an attempt to bolster strawberry sales. Despite high hopes for British tennis, the…

Milk and your pocket

  Another of the major milk buyers in the UK, has today announced that it will be following Wisemans and Dairy Crest in reducing the price it pays to farmers. Arla is cutting its price by 2.0 pence a litre from August 1st. This tops the 1.70 and 1.65 pence cuts announced by their competitors…

Identifying free range herds

For many, the images of dancing Jersey cows from the Anchor Butter adverts will perhaps best convey the image of free range cows. An increasing number of UK milk producers have been switching towards a ‘New Zealand style’ dairy farming system, because it is all about low cost milk production. For decades New Zealand dairy…

Pizza – the new vegetable

According to the news agency Reuters – The House of Representatives dealt a blow to childhood obesity warriors in the USA on Thursday, by passing a bill that abandons proposals to end the reign of pizza and French fries on federally funded school lunch menus. Did you know that pizzas are classed as a vegetable…

Investing in food & farming

  I heard an interview on Radio 4’s Farming Today programme last week, in which a global investment expert stated that small dairy farms have no future in theUK. Detlef Scon from Aquila Capital Green Assets explained “If you want to preserve a structure in a small, family farm-type structure in the UK, and there’s…

Engaging folks

I just thought you might like to see a catchy little You Tube clip called ‘I’m Farming and I Grow It’ made by the Peterson Brothers from Kansas, USA. It has already had over 2.5 million views and I think they’ve done a pretty good job in getting a message across about what they do.…

Simple messages

Please take a look at the short video of cows going out to grass on our farm this spring. We don’t often have the opportunity to get in front of the public and explain how we manage our cows. Short films such as this can help to convey simple messages about what we do and…

A Farming Fairytale

DairyCo’s Farmer Intentions Survey for 2012 shows British dairy farmers giving a vote of confidence for the medium to long term outlook for both the industry and their own farm businesses. 36% of farmers in Britain said they intend to expand milk production over the next two years, whilst the number intending to leave the…

Seasons & Reasons

After having let our cows out to graze exactly a month ago, we have had to bring some of them back indoors today. In an attempt to address the impending drought, Mother Nature has decided to send rain by the bucket full and our heavy clay soils are struggling to drain themselves between the storms.…

AHDB Education

The Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board (AHDB), in association with FACE (Farming and Countryside Education), recently commissioned research into current perceptions of children aged 7-15 on food, farming and the countryside, which has been used in the development of the AHDB Education Strategy 2012-17. The report produced by CHILDWISE in the summer of 2011, provides…

Out-wintering cattle

I attended a very interesting meeting at Kinston Maurward College today, which was all about out-wintering cattle. The meeting was run by the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), based at The University of Aberystwyth. There were two excellent farmer presentations from Clyde Jones and Chris Barnes, who shared their experiences of out-wintering…

Open Farm Sunday 2012

Promoting our farming and our milk is essential if we are to win the support of UK consumers. LEAF have been running Open Farm Sunday for the last seven years and it provides a fantastic opportunity to instil value in our farms and our cows. This year Open Farm Sunday takes place on June 17th.…