Recording BBC Food & Farming Awards

As you may already have heard, I am very fortunate to have been selected as one of the three finalists in this year’s BBC Food & Farming Awards. Along with Luke Hasell who runs The Story Group specialising in delivering organic food direct to the public and Steven Jack, an innovative carrot and potato grower… Read more »

BBC Food and Farming Award Shortlist

Needless to say. I’m absolutely delighted to be in the final three for BBC Food and Farming Awards! Thanks to all who have been in touch. The awards take place in Bristol on May 1st 2014.
Read more on the BBC website.
 

Undermining the value of milk

Alan Tovey reports in the Telegraph that Tesco is cutting the cost of four pints of milk from £1.39 to £1.00 today. Tesco joins others like Asda, Lidl and Aldi who have sold milk at this sort of price for some time now, as part of a campaign to “focus on everyday low prices on the products… Read more »

Spring 2014 Newsletter

Last week the latest Free Range Dairy newsletter was circulated to around 13,000 milk producers inside British Dairying magazine. Now, it’s available here on the website for everyone to read. I hope you will see that we have lots to do in 2014 and some exciting opportunities to explore. So, if you haven’t done already,… Read more »

Free range fourteen – my targets

My apologies for not having found time to update you on what is happening with Free Range Dairy for so long. I had a pretty busy last quarter in 2013 including the sad loss of my Dad after his long running battle with cancer at the end of October. Sometimes, you just have to put other… Read more »

No future for family farms?

Below is a letter from a Lancashire dairy farmer that appeared in the Farmers Guardian last week. My husband and I have run a family farm for 45 years. We have had good times and bad times. But now I think the bad times are becoming more frequent. Dairy companies do not want to buy from… Read more »

Time to put your hand up

Figures released by DairyCo yesterday revealed that the number of dairy farmers in England & Wales has fallen again, down to 10,488, a loss of 200 producers over the last twelve months. Last week permission was granted for a 1,000 cow dairy to be erected at Leighton, near Welshpool in Powys, despite concerns about the effect on the… Read more »

Wells Food Festival

I am looking forward to taking part in the Great Dairy Debate at next the Wells Food Festival next weekend (Sunday 20th October). I have been invited to join a panel chaired by food journalist Joanna Blythman. Others on the panel include Stephen Hook (The Moo Man), David Cotton (ex RABDF chairman), with local celebrity… Read more »

Free Range Dairy – an alternative vision

I have just been catching up on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme from last week, which explored the future of the dairy farming and asked whether the British dairy industry really needs to grow to compete. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03c240q The NFU seem to be preoccupied with the need to produce another 4 billion litres… Read more »

Grow to compete or good food to eat?

  On Monday evening I attended a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference inManchester, organised by the NFU. A panel of four Owen Paterson (Secretary of State for DEFRA), Justin King (CEO of Sainsbury’s), Peter Kendall (NFU President) and Meurig Raymond (NFU Vice President) set out their vision for the future of the UK… Read more »

Pasture Promise Day

A week a go I held the first Pasture Promise day at Walk Farm, to give producers, processors, researchers, food writers and other supporters the chance to get together and talk about Free Range Dairy. It was a lovely sunny day and our cows looked a picture. I explained to invited guests the amazing contribution… Read more »

Talking organic on BBC Radio Somerset

I was asked to give my thoughts on organic food and farming on Emma Britton’s programme on BBC Radio Somerset yesterday morning. I hope I gave a fair and balanced view of organic farming versus ‘conventional’ and my rationale for deciding not to convert to organic made some sense. I did ask some questions about… Read more »

Wrapping food in belief rather than red tape

Many farmers are tired of all the paperwork and farm inspections that are required to enable them to market milk, meat or crops from their farms under some sort of farm assurance scheme. The red tape associated with audits often seems too burdensome when weighed against the returns the producer receives. Ever since I started… Read more »

Food price inflation

Chief Executive of Tesco, Philip Clarke, indicated in an interview in The Observer that food price inflation is inevitable. “Over the long run I think food prices and the proportion of income spent on food may well be going up,” he said. “Because of growing demand it is going to change. It is the basic… Read more »

Tasting free range dairy

Next week I am holding an event on our farm for local chefs and food writers, inviting them to come and see how we farm and learn more about what Free Range Dairy is seeking to achieve. We have now set up a new facility on the Pasture Promise page on our website, to allow… Read more »

Feeding free range cows in winter

  As you are probably aware, Free Range dairy requires producers to graze their cows for a minimum of 180 days a year. Whilst we are striving to give our cows as much freedom as possible, we have to accept that cows will need to be housed in the winter months on most farms, since the grass… Read more »

Free Range Dairy welcomes you

Most of the discussions I have had about Free Range Dairy to date have been with fellow farmers who want achieve recognition and value for the way they farm. But, I am being approached by an increasing number of people who want be able to choose milk and dairy products from free range cows. These… Read more »

Cut or graze – time for a review

  I have just walked all our grazing block with the Plate Meter again this morning and I think I need to have a bit of a review of where we are at with the grass. I am trying to decide whether I should release six hectares of silage aftermath to the cows to graze. There… Read more »

Our Open Farm Sunday

  Thank you to all who came to visit Walk Farm on Open Farm Sunday. We had a wonderful day and really enjoyed showing everyone around the farm in the sunshine. We laid on tractor and trailer rides, sheep shearing and collection of animals for people to see – piglets, lambs, goats and chickens, as well as… Read more »

If it ain’t free range, it ain’t farming

  Wow! There’s a controversial statement that’s going to annoy a few people. So why say it? A couple of years ago, when I announced the launch of the Free Range Dairy initiative, some people accused me of dividing the dairy industry – pointing out difference between farms that grazed their cows and farms that… Read more »

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