Dairy 2020 – what does it mean?

I’m in danger of appearing negative and critical here. But, is it just me who doesn’t really understand how Dairy 2020 is actually going to be implemented at farm level. I have just read an article by Ben Bouckley on the Dairy Reporter website – www.dairyreporter.com – called “Fine words and cartoon cows”. Ben says the British have an aptitude for consulting and producing ‘vision statements’ and I tend to agree with him. I do worry that too much time is spent sitting around a table to try and fashion the collective desires of numerous stakeholders in our industry, only to deliver piles of paper carrying messages from ‘on high’ that have little practical value for those milking the cows.

This doesn’t mean I think Dairy 2020 is not a good idea. We do need to set out a clear vision for the future of our industry. But, it must be a vision that truly engages everyone in the supply chain and comes up with clear and practical advice for farmers. As Ben Bouckley says “where is the detail?”

I believe that the biggest contribution we can make as farmers is to continue to utilise the resources we have available in the most efficient way possible. For me, the starting point is what we have today. On our farm that means grass and robust dairy cows that are capable of using it to produce good milk yields. Whilst we must all have one eye on the future, we should not lose sight of the fundamental principles that drive profitable and sustainable milk production. I do not intend to draw up a lengthy vision statement for Free Range Dairy, endorsed by a plethora of ‘leading lights’. My vision is simple – robust and healthy cows grazing grass to deliver healthy milk for consumers and a healthy return for farmers.

You can read Ben Bouckley’s full article by following the link –

www.dairyreporter.com/Markets/Fine-words-and-cartoon-cows-ambitious-UK-dairy-vision-must-be-backed-by-cash

If, on the other hand, you can provide me with some detail on what Dairy 2020 really means for farmers please get in touch.

 

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