A panel, made up of John Armour, NFUS Policy Advisor, Sandy Wilkie – Mr Milk, and Csaba Adamik the Senior Nutritionist with SAC Consulting, were challenged by a number of pertinent questions from the Campbeltown Dairy Producers at a recent FAS funded meeting.
The future for the next generation was debated at length and key messages, especially from Sandy Wilkie, that technology and entrepreneurship are two key ingredients for the new generation of dairy farmers.
Innovation is key for the younger generation plus exploring new opportunities, Wee Isle Dairy was offered as an example, door step deliveries with the Mueller model being exploited down south after the acquisition of Dairy Crests business.
The expansion of existing dairy farms (1000 cow) herds will they displace the family farm especially in a peninsular like Kintyre? This being emotive as well as realistic, the consensus was that the British Dairy Industry relies heavily on family businesses, however support from milk buyers is important noting the number of players now controlling the industry. Greater security in milk contracts, the panel felt, would give stability to dairying although it was pointed out that young entrepreneurs are prepared to take “risks”.
Buzz words and appealing to the consumer regards promoting products with a value added price tag was an area the panel felt requires attention. Everything produced must be quality and this affects the milk chain – classic in Campbeltown still selling butter as “Scottish Pride” would sales improve if it was marketed as Campbeltown Butter? Provenance again required.
Market opportunities are there however there must be a will and farmers, as suppliers, must react to consumer needs if the milk price is to be stable.
Cost of production is an area all producers should be looking at after the last two years of low prices and hardship mindful of investment and the need for dairy producers to invest again, to be brave and to have faith. It was pointed out by all three panellists that the population is growing, there is a demand for product especially new “Flavoured Milk” “Grazing Cows” and Branding.
Kintyre has a unique climate, giving the ability to grow grass when it’s not raining and those who being all family farms have a future but must persuade their milk buyer that investment in the promotion of product is paramount for a long term future.
Communication, trust, innovation and investment by First Milk, along with the producers achieving the delivery of a first class product, the Panel felt would be a good recipe for success linking in with what Kintyre can offer to tourists and local hoteliers.
The Kintyre dairy producers have much to consider, planning towards an unknown future post Brexit, although with a much sought after premium product, and with the right marketing, it will be an exciting one.
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