Gareth Wyn Jones – BBC Milk Man
Dairy products can be found in every household in the UK. Milk being top of the list, we pour it on our cereal for breakfast and we drink it in our teas, but do you realise how much work goes into the production of milk and the process to the supermarket? This program (BBC Milk Man) shows the consumer that process and what the impact has been on the farmer in a 3 part series.
With my country and farming upbringing, I’m keen on supporting and promoting the industry by informing people who don’t know much about the farming industry and ensuring I buy as much British produce as possible and shop local for produce as much as I can supporting local butchers, local meat companies, and farmers markets etc.
The UK dairy industry is in crisis. Falling prices have forced many farmers out of business and left others in a desperate situation. The smaller, more traditional farms have been the worst casualties, while the large herd, intensive producers surviving.
So what is the dairy crisis?
Dairy farmers have faced an ongoing struggle, but things reached a crisis point in 2015 following falling prices, with supermarkets selling milk cheaper than water and dairy processors cutting prices paid to farmers. Half of Britain’s dairy farms have gone out of business during the past 10 years, and many of these have been small family enterprises. The milk prices have been dropping since the 1990’s and it has got to a point now in 2016 where some dairy farmers were only getting 17 pence per litre for their milk! The average milk price is around 25 pence per litre at the moment but varies with each farmer while production costs can equal the same or more meaning the farmer is working at a loss every single day.
Gareth Wyn Jones, a hill farmer and campaigner for the best welsh food and farming, has done an amazing job with this BBC program highlighting the struggles and issues facing dairy farming families throughout Wales. Although its taken place in Wales I’m sure this program will relate to many farming families in the UK. The program shows how a variety of farmers and their families are finding different ways to ensure that their businesses survive in these tough times.
One of the good points the program showed us was how some farmers have decided to cut out the middle man and brand, bottle and sell their own milk direct to the public. A great place to show your support on this is FindMeAMilkman.net a site from DairyUK. Other things to consider is asking your local farmer if they do sell their milk to the public locally, some even offer delivers.
Some local produce (Cumbria) worth checking out is Plumgarths Farm Shop – For the last 13 years they have packed their farm shop with the tastiest meat, dressings, preserves, ice-creams, ales, breads, baked goods, fruit and vegetables from local and passionate small-scale producers.
Kitridding Farm Shop – voted ‘Farm Shop of the Year 2013’ by Cumbria Life magazine and offers locally sourced produce and fresh meat from the farm.
Farmers Markets – which market and promote quality local produce and encourages and support agricultural diversification and self–reliance. Find one near you!
Greenlands Farm – Originally a working dairy farm, Greenlands Farm diversified in 2009 to offer a taste of the countryside and artisan shopping for all the family. Open farm and activities for all the family.
Low Sizergh Barn – With a 17th century barn farm shop for all local produce, along with a working farm, walks around the farm and a tea room whee you can see the cows being milked.
Some farmers even sell eggs and jams at the end of their lanes with an honesty box so look out for these!
There’s lots more local businesses I could write but I’m sure you can now go and find and support your local farmers in your area. Let’s make a difference!