Welsh dairy farmers say they're continuing to sell milk well below the cost of production despite reports that the price of dairy products have significantly picked up recently. Low returns and the high cost of milk production resulted in dairy farmers either quitting the dairy industry or diversifying within it. The Robinson family of Monmouthshire was devastated about getting so little for their milk and being so vulnerable to price fluctuations. A year ago they decided to produce and start selling raw, unpasteurised milk direct to the consumer.
Pauline Smith from BBC Radio Wales interviewed farmers Emma and Robert recently. The Robinsons have been selling raw milk at the farm gate, from the farmers market and now online. They report that gate sales are increasing and they are getting a lot of repeat online orders from customers. The local farmers market on the weekends is also a great opportunity to sell to new customers and to meet regulars for a catch up. Emma say that regulations state that farmers can only sell it at the farm gate, at farmers markets and online because it is going directly from the farmer's door to the consumer's door. Many UK dairy farmers also sell their raw milk via vending machines placed at the farm gate.
Emma say they enjoy contact with the consumer because they are finding out what the consumer wants. Farmers are going the extra mile because they want more money for their milk and a better market.
Robert say being able to sell direct to the consumer is so much more value added and satisfying for them.
Robert, who is very passionate about his cows, say they are currently milking 70 pedigree Holstein cows from a closed herd. He has personally been involved in breeding them. The farm's milk is tested weekly by the National Milk Laboratories for butterfat, protein, SCC, Bactoscan, UREA water and Antibiotic according to their website. They are tested every 2 months for coliform counts by Food Standards Agency.
They keep a print out of these results on the fridge at the farm shop for consumers to read. The farm have to be licensed by the Food Standards Agency in order to sell milk directly to the public. They are also Farm Assured and are inspected by the Food Standards Agency. Read more about Grosmont Wood Farms quality controls on the sale of raw milk here.
Please take the time and listen to the very inspiring interviews below:
Audio: Pauline Smith from BBC Radio Wales interviewed the Robinson family of Grosmont Wood Farm who are now selling raw milk at the farmers market, from the farm gate and online (source). 12 Nov 2016
Audio: Jamie Owen from BBC Radio Wales interviewed Emma right before the Royal Welsh show (source), 23 Jul 2017
Photos: Raw milk for sale at Grosmont farmers market as part of the Aber Food Festival. The raw milk sold out quickly. Click on the images to enlarge.
Grosmont Wood Farm: