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Dairy Crest supports The Prince's Dairy Initiative's calls to recruit new farmers for its third year

12/09/2014

The Prince’s Dairy Initiative, chaired by Dairy Crest’s Head of Agriculture and Communications, Lyndsay Chapman is looking for traditional family dairy farmers to join the third year of this innovative programme offering support and business advice to those running small and medium-sized dairy herds. The Initiative aims to improve the diversity and long term sustainability of the British dairy sector by offering free practical workshops and an important local networking opportunity.

After a successful second year the Initiative is launching in five new regions, with farms located within driving distance of Appleby in Westmorland, Leyburn, Welshpool, Leek and Camborne. The organisers are looking for twenty dairy farmers in each area who want to increase the viability and efficiency of their business. Eligible farmers should have a dairy herd of fewer than 200 cows, supply their milk on a standard contract and not already be active participants in discussion groups and workshops. Participation is free.

Lyndsay Chapman, Chairman of the Initiative and Director of Agriculture and Communications at Dairy Crest, said:

“This is an important time for us to support traditional family dairy farmers. The aim of our practical programme of workshops - delivered by experts and tried and tested by two groups of farmers - is to give relevant advice to farmers that should make the difference between a thriving dairy farm and one struggling to survive. Our experience to-date proves that bringing local, like-minded farmers together delivers real benefit. The problem is that too often the farmers who could benefit the most from this Initiative are too remote or too busy to seek support. We’re trying to spread the word and reach these farmers.”

Since 2012, 125 dairy farms have participated in this programme of business-led workshops designed to help secure the future of their businesses. The workshops are delivered locally by experts in the dairy sector and cover topics such as herd health, soil, nutrition and financial management. All the farmers who have taken part so far are still trading and most have changed the way they do things on their own farms helping the long term viability of their businesses. As well as reducing costs and improving technical farm performance, participating farmers benefit from joining a network of local, like-minded people with whom they can share knowledge and best practice.

Andrew Gresty, who runs a small dairy farm in Shropshire, comented on his experience from the Dairy Initiative:

"I gained a lot from it, no dount, and I would go back for more. I would thoroughly recomment it."

Daydd Cox, a partticipating darmern from Wales who took part in the first year of the Initiative, talked about what he learnt form the workshops:

"It's great to be with other farmers in your situation as we can be isolated and think you are the only one with the problems."

The Prince's Dairy Initiative is inspired by HRH The Prince of Wales and his long-term concern about the future sustainability of UK dairy farming. It is delivered in partnership with charity Business in the Community, sector body DairyCo and with the support of the major UK dairy processors and feed companies.