We are approaching the midpoint of #FebruDairy 2019. Social media is a powerful barometer of what excite, and what incense people.
Important issues that go viral sometimes show the need for a more evolved, mature approach in a particular area of life. This type of maturity is about understanding that freedom is an individual responsibility, and that equality and freedom of choice for all are crucial. It is about honouring our own individual values, authentic expression and truth. It’s a highly individualistic force that also has a collective expression.
When something on social media goes viral, it is often quick to develop, and although it may seem erratic, it is often an expression of something that has been coming for a while. It’s the restlessness and the readiness for change, that have been brewing in the hearts of individuals, that can suddenly come to the forefront. These issues, that originate from the fertile bedrock of the collective unconscious, can suddenly become hard to ignore, with some strong statements coming to light.
People are answering the call to be more of their true self from a place of inner authority, instead of who they were conditioned to be. On a rational level, this may not make sense, but if actions are rooted in love, wisdom and honouring the inner voice of guidance, an authentic and powerful expression can be achieved in the world.
When important issues go viral, it’s a sign that the collective is gearing up for a revolutionary and evolutionary change. Whatever that might be…
Even when things doesn’t make sense on the surface, many individuals are living their individual truth and it is making a worthy contribution to this world.
#FebruDairy is a social media hashtag to promote the dairy industry to a wider audience. Dr. Jude Crapper, who was awarded Dairy Industry Woman of the Year 2017, is the brainchild behind the initiative. Jude is an independent Livestock Sustainability Consultant based in the United Kingdom. According to her website, she is passionate about sustainability issues and her current research and outreach work focuses on modeling the environmental and economic impact of livestock production systems, which is important work. The dairy industry is crying for change.
Many people don’t have a problem with those who choose a vegan lifestyle, but they do have a problem when the dairy industry is slandered by people who know nothing about livestock or farming. Farmers have been urged to 'Tell it Like it is' in an initiative to help communicate the positives of milk by using the hashtag on social media, but this is not easy because #FebruDairy has also stirred up a lot of anti-animal agriculture sentiment. #FebruDairy has done some
great things in terms of both exposing and promoting good practice, and opened channels of communication about the different perceptions around dairy. #FebruDairy also shows how hard dairy farmers work, and how popular some new kinds of farming and dairying have become, because they have a strong consumer backing.
People are changing how they ‘consume’ their media. The younger generation does not watch television much anymore. Some are even entirely disconnected from mainstream media. They are watching channels like YouTube and other social media platforms, and have become selective about the reality they create for themselves, and what they expose themselves to. In a way, people in society have become more polarised in their views, but there is also a collective consensus that some things doesn’t work anymore. Consumer preferences, where they are enabled, are also leading the way for the much needed social change, which some mighty industries are resisting, but will have to make way for eventually.
Promoting agriculture in the UK
On the 10th of February, BBC Radio Lancashire’s Stephen Lowe spoke to Farmer’s Guardian editor Ben Briggs and dairy farmer Tom Pemberton on his show (it starts at 10:50) about agricultural journalism and digital innovation in the UK. They are showcasing the countryside in a positive manner to their individual audiences, and creating a noise around the issues that surround agriculture. They recognise that connecting to the younger generation consumers are vital. Ben says that farming still resonates with a large majority of people in the UK. He says that Farmers Guardian had 5 million views on their website at fginsight.com last year, and they have the largest social media platform in UK agriculture, with close to 200,000 Facebook followers. Much of that content is video about communicating with the wider public about where the food comes from. The video that received the most views in recent months, was the happy cow getting a scratch at a rotating brush, which went viral with 33 million views, see the video to the right. Ben recognises that it is important for young people to come into the industry, and be a spokesperson to take the industry forward. Farmers are often isolated on the farm, but social media brings farmers and eaters together on issues they are mutually excited about, and can fall in love with.
Tom Pemberton’s Farm Life YouTube channel
At the 13 minute time marker of Stephen’s show, he introduces dairy farmer Tom Pemberton. Stephen wanted to understand his why Tom’s digital innovation was such a success in connecting to the consumers of the future. A recording of the interview at the BBC was also made and can be watched here. In October 2018, Tom famously won a top national award for his online video reports of life on the farm. He won the British Farming Award’s Digital Farm of the Year 2018. Tom is only 26 years old, but he has already enjoyed some significant achievements and public recognition.
He produces raw milk for human consumption on Pemberton Farm, the family farm in Fylde, Lancashire, UK. ARMM published this article about the farm, its raw milk sales and new farm shop selling local produce in October 2017. Tom says he initially wanted to show people in the local area what goes on behind the farm gate, and the amount of care that goes into a pint of milk. It all started with the raw milk vending machine the family installed at the farm gate. He had no idea the YouTube channel would turn into an internet sensation in such a short time.
The YouTube channel started to take off when he published a video called “A quick guide on how to use our RAW MILK VENDING MACHINE on the family farm!” The video to date has more than 11,400 views on YouTube, and over 14,700 on Facebook. Tom and his partner Joanna started to make more videos on request, and now has a staggering, over 53,500 subscribers to the YouTube channel. Tom not only shares footage of himself describing the activities on the farm, he flies drones over the farm, giving people a unique and enjoyable perspective on family farm life. His latest drone, the third one, captures 4k video quality.
Tom also talks about the self-service raw milk vending machine. You can bring your own bottle, or buy one, and get your 1 or two litres of raw milk. He also explains to customers what raw milk is: straight from the cow, unpasteurised, unhomogenised, and how important it is to educate people. Remember, there are two kinds of raw milk: one produced for human consumption, and the other is produced with an expectation to be pasteurised. Raw milk is regulated in England & Wales and Northern Ireland.
On the 6th of February the Blackpool Gazette published an article about the farm as part of the #FebruDairy campaign featuring Tom’s father, Andrew Pemberton. Andrew said about Tom’s YouTube channel: “It is important people know what goes on behind the scenes and how local farmers can provide the personal touch.” “Unless you are milking 400 to 500 cows, you have to diversify to maintain the business and
the raw milk machine and shop we have recently introduced are proving very popular.”
Tom is very passionate about what he does. He is not isolated from the end consumer. He sells raw milk via the vending machine, directly to the community. He sells the local produce from other farmers in the farm store, providing an essential community service. When he started, he was passionate about bringing his local farming community together. Now a significant part of his following is international. Tom says it is easy for anyone with a smartphone in his pocket to follow him, and watch his videos. They can subscribe to the channel, and get notifications or text messages, indicating when there are new content to watch. The next generation is catering for the next generation online, not the mainstream media television. This is all thanks to individual preference, and people voting on issues they love with their time, commitment and enthusiasm.
The Ethical Dairy’s successful crowdfund
The Ethical Dairy in Scotland has recently successfully raised the whopping £56,580 with 592 supporters in 56 days. They are on a mission to revolutionise the dairy industry, and want to prove that a kinder approach to dairy farming is possible. Unlike almost every other dairy farm in the world, they have stopped taking calves away from their mothers shortly after birth. They now leave the calves - including the male calves - with their mum to suckle naturally. It means the farmers get less milk, but also less stress. Less stress means a better life for the cows, their calves and for the people who work with them.
The Ethical Dairy is the largest farm in the UK using this system, and they want to prove this is viable at scale. If they can prove that cow with calf dairy farming works, they know other farmers will transition to this method. They needed the funding to help them share what they've learned. Open-source ethical farming is their goal. Clearly the 592 backers thought this was worth investing in and being enthusiastic about. Learn more about the crowdfund here, watch this video or listen to this interview the BBC had with farmers David and Wilma Findlay earlier this week. The farm produces raw milk cheeses, which are valuable products worth investing in. Scotland is one of the three countries that ban raw drinking milk from cows for human consumption. Australia and Canada are the other two.
Fen Farm Dairy
Baron Bigod is a brie de meaux style raw milk cheese produced in Suffolk, UK from French Montbeliarde cows. It’s world famous and was served at Prince Harry’s wedding breakfast. Blogger and Podcaster Ben Eagle of thinkingcountry.com published this interview with dairy farmer Jonny Crickmore on the 11th of February. Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore’s story is certainly an inspiring one. Fen Farm Dairy has won multiple top national awards, but their most famous award was the Farmers Weekly Diversification Farmer of the Year Award 2017. They have at the farm gate a raw milk vending machine, a raw milk coffee vending machine and other vending machines selling products like raw cream, raw butter and the raw milk Baron Bigod cheese. Pictured to the right is a special-made version for Valentines Day 2019.
Jonny talks about a variety of issues, like the time they were targeted by vegans and how they dealt with it. He says they were an easy target because they are very active on social media, and many other dairy farmers are not. The incident was also an opportunity to talk about different farming practices, and how food is produced differently in different systems. Fen Farm Dairy produces raw dairy products and they have to take a great deal of care, with good animal husbandry, and by making sure the animals are happy and healthy. He also talks about his involvement in the creation of the Raw Milk Producer Group UK, and working with the Food Standards Agency UK to upgrade the raw milk regulations for the UK. Listen to the interview here.
Jasper Hill Farm’s Winnemere raw milk cheese
#FebruDairy has produced this great story about USA’s most famous soft, spoonable raw milk cheese. It’s the seasonal, washed rind Winnemere produced in Greensboro, Vermont. It is made with raw milk from healthy, well-managed cows fed a dry hay diet, which contributes to the unique flavour. It has graced presidential tables during the Obama administration and it is in huge demand across the world. This episode produced by Eater, shows how chef Katie Pickens is given a tour by dairy farmer and co-founder Mateo Kehler showing how the cheese is produced from grass to cheese. Jasper Hill Farm has the country’s largest underground cheese cave, 30 feet underneath a Hillside, where the various cheeses mature. The video already reached over 99,000 views after it had been published for a mere 24 hours.
Farmers over Pharmacies YouTube channel
Another very popular YouTube channel with a loyal following has mysteriously suffered losses during the #FebruDairy campaign, but perhaps for all the wrong reasons. Raw milk advocate Mark McAfee started a YouTube channel in November 2017, which was banned soon after the first video appeared. He recreated another new channel soon after and posted several video interview stories, which had a very positive reception amongst his followers. Early in February, however, several of his case study videos were banned. He told us “the Farmers over Pharmacies are published under first amendment freedom of speech protections in the USA. There are no promotions of any branded products and therefore, it is not “commercial speech”. Nothing in the content is defaming, no cussing, no blood, no nudity, no guns…nothing. Just case studies of real people that consumed raw milk or raw kefir and fully recovered from serious illness.”
The about section reads: “My Vision & Mission: This is an educational outreach YouTube
Channel that is dedicated to “reconnecting food to medicine”. I will be interviewing: scientists, researchers, consumers, doctors, farmers, and others in its search for answers. I believe that doctors must have an expanded toolbox that includes food as a preventative and healing part of their practice if the future of medicine is going to be affordable and or sustainable. I believe that consumers are entitled to know and embrace their options when it comes to food as a healing and preventative part of medicine. Compassion, humanity, health before wealth and a stronger healthier world for all…. are foundational tenants to our purpose. Hippocratic Oath and Quotes to live by: · Do no harm… · All disease begins in the GUT… · Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food! #FarmersOverPharmacies”
Why was Mark’s videos banned? Perhaps someone who is resistant to change does not want an internet audience to follow Mark and his message. To watch the videos, now published on a different platform, see the website:
Februdairy in Australia
The production of raw milk cheese in Australia is doing well, although growth in the industry is painfully slow, because the regulations are bureaucratic, costly and time consuming. Three #FebruDairy articles describe how Australian made raw milk cheeses are now for sale in some of Australia’s most exclusive restaurants, like Pecora Dairy’s Yarrawa at Bennelong restaurant and Bar at Sydney Harbour. According to this article, Yarrawa is the first cheese to be made in Australia using uncooked curds and raw milk. Regulations around raw milk allow this cheese to be made from uncooked and unpasteurised milk, with harmful pathogens being eliminated by maturation rather than heating. Yarrawa is handcrafted with sheep’s milk. Chef Peter Gilmore ordered 15 kilograms of the cheese to feature on the exclusively Australian cheese menu of the fine-dining Bennelong restaurant. Another restaurant, Vue de Monde in Melbourne’s Rialto building on the 55th floor, has only Australian cheese on the cheese trolley.
Australia hasn’t been able to promote the #FebruDairy hashtag much in the first half of February, because Australia’s agricultural sectors have suffered many blows and tragedies. In fact, there have been multiple shocks and upsets. Farmer’s faith are severely tested and some are quitting because they cannot continue. Parts of Australia are in severe drought, or bushfire, and others were recently in floods of biblical proportions. According to this report from Queensland’s flood ravaged northwest, it is feared that up to 500,000 drought-stressed cattle may have died in the recent floods.
On top of this, some animals are dying from hunger, because some farmers (who love them) can’t afford to feed them, because they don’t have the money. Previously fertile grasslands in parts of Australia now resemble Martian landscapes. Grain and hay are ridiculously expensive. Many dairy farmers in Australia have not been receiving a fair income from producing milk for the processed dairy industry for many years. Even having a large herd, as advocated by the ‘get big or get out’ campaigners, doesn’t guarantee farmers can survive the multiple crises they face, as the farmer in the video above shows. They are going broke, and creating more debt is not an option because many banks and businessmen are calling in their loans. Dairy farmers cannot diversify with a more sustainable form of dairying, like raw drinking milk from cows either, because it is illegal. Farmers have told us the regulations for raw milk cheese production in Australia are impossible for them. In states like WA grain farmers have recorded their most valuable grain harvest ever worth almost $7 billion. These grain growers, and the banks, are now ‘cashing in’ because the various disasters are generating some unusual market forces. Rural communities are drying up. All of this is heartbreaking and shocking…
Also see the video to the right. Third generation dairy farmer Casey Treloar hoped to never have to film the video. She and her family are leaving the industry. The video is her heartbreaking last message to say goodbye to the pedigree cows she tended with her father for the last time on the 10th of February. In just two days, her video had over 805,000 views and counting…
According to regenerative farmer Charles Massey, Australia has what he calls a brittle climate, and that Australia needs to learn from the agricultural history of the Middle East. In this interview with the ABC, the author of the book The Call of the Reed Warbler, describes why Australia is desertifying: it’s because we are neglecting pastoral economy and healthy soil. Many modern farming practices like tilling, mono cropping, spraying agrochemicals with antibiotic properties and overgrazing, have disrupted or killed soil microbiome and ecosystems, taking farm profitability with it. When soil does not have a protective, diverse-species green cover on it, desertification slowly creeps up because it’s not a robust, hydrated landscape anymore. Eventually the area can become a dust bowl when it experiences drought or temperature extremes.
Many farmers are suddenly motivated to look at the larger perspective, to make unique changes in their lives and find empowerment and new opportunities for themselves. They are called to summon their own sense of determination and cultivate perseverance. The serenity prayer is important in times like these.
God, please grant me the serenity
1. to accept the things I cannot change;
2. the courage to change the things I can;
3. and the wisdom to know the difference.
There are three authentic positions of power in this prayer. It is up to people to recognise which form of power is called for in a given moment, and bring it forward as it is needed. As the old is swept away, it may create bright new opportunities.