Bristol, United Kingdom (iSnare.com) January-25-2017 -- The Free Range Milk Marketing Board (FRMMB), representing a group of more than 700 dairy farmers, launched a new campaign this week. Campaigners behind the Enjoy Milk cause believe they have a new future for British Dairy cows.
The game-changing Enjoy Milk campaign aims to provide consumers with the opportunity to choose great tasting fresh milk from 100% British farms which is also guaranteed grazing based and offers farmers a truly fair deal.
The integrity of the Enjoy Milk campaign is based upon multiple principles, including the assertion that dairy cows should be allowed to graze grass as often as possible. Enjoy Milk describes this as “free ranging”. Others may call it ‘free range', as has long been the case with eggs.
There is an overwhelming perception from the Great British consumer that this is how they would prefer cows to live their lives, with 86% of those surveyed agreeing “that UK dairy cows should be able to graze on pasture and should not be permanently housed indoors”. (Ref: YouGov 2015).
Founder of the Enjoy Milk campaign, Nick Hiscox, himself an ex-dairy farmer, explains: “To have a better understanding of the considerations and challenges faced by dairy farmers and their cows, consider the incredible diversity of the Great British countryside. We live in a country with a hugely diverse climate, landscape and soil type, with no two counties being the same, let alone our farms. Shoppers know this. That's why they govern the guiding principles of what is expected from a claim of ‘free range' milk.”
The campaign asserts that the definition of ‘free range' dairy farming is crucial is calling for legal clarity over the use of the term.
In the meantime, the Free Range Milk Marketing Board, the body behind the Enjoy Milk campaign, has developed an application process and compliance procedure to ensure 100% integrity of the milk from Enjoy Milk dairy farms.
Enjoy Milk dairy farms have to commit to the achieving maximum milk yield from grazing based forage, meaning that their cows have the most days possible for grazing outside. Whilst no dairy farm is the same, it is possible to objectively and simply determine whether an individual farm is committed to grazing or not. Routine housing of the dairy stock at times of the year when it's reasonable to expect cows to be grazing in fields is NOT permitted. Exceptions will be made for adverse events requiring temporary housing, such as flooding or biosecurity issues.
All applicants must provide evidence in support of the application to supply free ranging milk. In order to be robust but without causing an additional red tape burden on already hard pressed farmers, this evidence will rely on existing farm data, including:
1.A total farm plan clearly showing the defined areas of grazing and areas set aside for conserving winter forage such as silage.
2.Number of livestock units held on the farm.
3.Evidence to show adequate housing for all stock that require housing outside of the grazing season.
All Enjoy Milk producers will be asked to submit annual management plans showing clear evidence of the grazing period achieved. The Enjoy Milk team are also investigating an interactive package of software to make the process of compliance and monitoring easier and real time related.
In the absence of a legal definition of free ranging for dairy cows, the purpose of these requirements is that there is complete clarity as to what the free range Enjoy Milk promise means, so every dairy farmer and the trusting British shopper can buy in confidence.
For Nick, asking a dairy farmer to commit to these requirements is an un-negotiable line in the sand, but it's only the beginning:
“Enjoy Milk is more than free range. It encapsulates a vision of the future that brings together a sustainable dairy industry for both farmer and consumer. The commitment from farmers to grazing based dairy farming is matched by a commitment from Enjoy Milk to provide all its suppliers with a contract that pays the farmer in a way they value and believe is fair.”
As well as supporting milk from pasture grazed cows, 87% consumers surveyed wanted “farmers to receive a good price for their milk” (Ref. YouGov 2015).
“How can dairy farmers plan and invest in the future without knowing where they are financially?” Nick continues.
“Enjoy Milk is a campaign to ensure that just as the farmer commits to free ranging principles, so the Great British shopper, by choosing their milk, can ensure these farmers receive a fair contract in return for their hard work. Enjoy Milk calls this ‘fair dealing'.”
There are a few examples where British dairy farmers are supplying direct to retailers, like Tesco, under a cost of production contract. However these dairy farmers are only a fraction of the total dairy sector. It is estimated that 82% of dairy farmers are not on a retailer direct supply contract - around 7,800 farms in the UK.
These are the farmers that the Enjoy Milk campaign has set out to protect and support, helping stem the flow of farmers leaving the industry and the trend towards herds consolidating and getting bigger.
According to Nick: “By making it clear exactly what free range actually means, shoppers and dairy farmers can build a free range future together - one that celebrates our green and pleasant land.”
The Enjoy Milk campaign also intends to rewrite the rules on established milk packaging. Milk produced by Enjoy Milk farmers will have a distinctive ‘Black Top', rather than the traditional blue, green and red caps, making it easy for shoppers to reach for milk that has been approved as free ranging and fair dealing.
Shoppers will be able to choose Black Top once it hits the shelves in early Spring 2017. The Black Top will feature on both existing regionally branded milk which shoppers may already be buying locally, and on Enjoy Milk branded polybottles in major retailers.
Enjoy Milk intend to make sure their product is available everywhere. In the meantime, the dairy loving Great British public can show they support at www.enjoymilk.co.uk and on social media.
As Nick concludes: “The Integrity of a brand's promise is paramount, especially when it comes to the food we buy. What is on the bottle has the risk of becoming more important than what is in the bottle. Not so with Enjoy Milk. The Enjoy Milk campaign is about creating a sustainable future valued and understood by Great British consumers and dairy farmers alike, a future that is better for cows, better for farms, better for everyone.”
For further information, interviews and pictures, and to talk to Nick and Enjoy Milk farmers, contact:
07944 440 935
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Ref: YouGov 2015 file:///Users/Admin/Desktop/EM%20milk%20where_does_your_milk_come_from.pdf