Raw Milk & vending machines save small family farms

Farmers all over the world say that they are fed up with being paid such low prices for the milk they send to processors and that something has to be done about it.  Milk prices are at an all time low and some farmers are forced to sell it at a loss. Many concerned consumers are willing to do whatever needs to be done to support their hard working food producers and help them stay on the land.

Fortunately some dairy farmers have a choice: raw milk for human consumption is legal to produce and sell in England. This milk is in demand, benefits the local community and people are prepared to pay a proper price for it.  It is unprocessed, unpasteurised and unhomogenised - straight from the cow and over 170 producers in England are licensed to sell it. 

In England there is legislation to support smaller dairy farmers in producing premium raw milk from healthy, grass-fed cows to mitigate risk.  

ARMM calls on the Australian government to install similar legislation to save small family farms affected by the current dairy crisis. Clearly overseas dairy farmers benefit from having a raw milk industry. 

The vending machine allows customers to fill a bottle straight from the farm as quick as 4 hours after the cows have been milked.  It is one of the ways in which dairy farmers have had to fight back to make a living, as dairy processors sometimes pay less than the cost of producing the milk per litre, sending farmers into debt and bankruptcy.  

Sussex Raw Milk producer Stephen Hook said in an Australian ABC interview Rising demand for raw milk, that at least one UK dairy farmer per day leave the industry and disappear because they can't make a living. Steve's family business Hook and Son is currently selling unpasteurised milk, raw butter, raw cream and ghee at 20 farmers markets, they deliver locally and also via nationwide deliveries. They've been selling direct to the public since 2007 and is licensed by the Food Standards Agency.  More about Steve and his father Phil's March 2016 visit to Australia in this article.  Listen to the interview below.

Photos: Hook and Son at a local farmers market by Eastbourne Borough Market. Click to enlarge.

The National Farmers Union (the voice of British farming) believes existing hygiene controls mean raw milk is safe to the consumer. Spokeswoman Isobel Bretherton said: “It is important that controls on the sale of this product are proportionate and appropriate for the modern consumer and dairy farmer.

Isobel added that “All dairy farms are subject to Food Standards Agency dairy hygiene inspections that aim to ensure a satisfactory standard of hygiene is maintained and indeed enforced. Inspections cover premises, equipment, milk-producing animals and milk. The inspections ensure that milk producing animals are healthy and premises are clean, protecting the supply of milk from the risk of contamination by bacteria and other substances.”

Raw milk vending machines

Many UK dairy farmers now sell their milk raw at the farm gate via a milk dispensing machine. Fenn Farm Dairy in Suffolk is currently the UK distributer for DF Italia's vending machines.  The different models and functions can be viewed here: Milk Vending Machinesuk.co.uk. Click here to see a short list of farmers who own a DF Italia machine. 

Milkbot.co.uk is another UK milk dispenser. Milkbots are created by a Czech company who ships four different models of the vending machine out across the world. Click here to see a short list of farmers who own a Milkbot.

Also see the Brunimat vending machines.

Three farmers offer their advice on how to get a raw milk enterprise with the vending machines off the ground in this article.

List of videos to watch:

Video:  BBC South A dairy farm in Hampshire has announced it's to start selling its own milk independently in order to survive. Jenny & Mark Stevens Peak House Farm from Whitchurch say despite supermarkets agreeing last week to pay more to producers, they can't break even. It comes after a mass protest by dairy farmers at a supermarket in Dorset.


Video:  Vending machines have seen a recent spike in popularity as farmers seek to cut out the middle man and sell direct to the consumer. From Delph House farm.


Audio:  Hugo Harrison speaks with Jonny Crickmore a farmer whose diversification into raw milk, cheese and butter is gradually levelling these fluctuations, and profitably too. The raw milk revolution is happening on a small and stable scale.

Related Articles & raw dairy farm examples (please read):

Tarvin farm installs innovative milk vending machine  -  16 Nov 2016

Oliver Neagle and Julie Smith selling unpasteurised milk in bid to make dairy farm sustainable  -  12 Nov 2016

Milk on tap at innovative Lake District farm's vending machine - 6 Oct 2016

Moo to you! Farming family shake things up in Winslow with raw milk vending machine firm  -  16 Sep 2016

Historic working farm will offer raw milk thanks to a new milk vending machine  -  15 Sep 2015

South Cumbrian farmers install state-of-the-art milk vending machine to supply Jersey milk customers at the farm gate  -  14 Sep 2016

Farmers milk idea that will keep their business afloat  -  13 Sep 2016

Farm in Wolvey installs fresh milk vending machine  -  13 Aug 2016

Milk vending machine key to dairy farming future

Farm installs Milkbot machine  -   1 Aug 2016

It’s ‘Udderly Good’ Milk from Bunkers Dairy  -  22 Jul 2016

Milkbot helping Shropshire farm fight back on milk prices  -  10 Jun 2016

These Machines are EVERYWHERE in Europe, Why Not USA (Video)

Raw Milk vending machines helping farmers steer through dairy crisis - 25 Mar 2016

UK dairy farmers look at milk vending machines - 23 Feb 2016

Farm vending machines offer an alternative route to market-  5 Feb 2016

Nottinghamshire dairy farm installs milk vending machine - 17 Dec 2015

From cow to cereal within hours - pour your own raw milk at Delph House Farm in Huddersfield - 12 Dec 2015

Raw milk vending machine proves a hit with consumers - 23 Aug 2015

This Sunday a Whitchurch dairy is to start selling raw milk direct to the public - 14 Aug 2015

Colwick cheese couple selling milk straight from cow - with farm vending machine - 29 April 2014

Raw Milk Map UK and Ireland (Zeemaps)

Audio:  Raw milk and the FSA consultation

UK requirements for raw milk and cream