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.
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:
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.
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