Like most farmers, I’m very keen on supporting and promoting the industry by ensuring I buy as much British, and wherever possible, local produce as I can. As a meat producer myself, I’m well aware of the difference in quality and the level of care that goes in to putting that beef, pork, lamb and poultry on the supermarket shelves and wouldn’t dream of putting anything that wasn’t British in my shopping basket, regardless of the difference in price. However, having just finished watching Gareth Wyn Jones – Milk Man on the BBC, I’ve realised I don’t always give the white stuff the same treatment.
Gareth’s show did a great job of highlighting the struggles and issues facing dairy farming families throughout Wales (struggles that will, sadly, be all too familiar to dairy farmers throughout the rest of the UK) and how they are all finding different ways to try and turn around their fortunes to ensure that the business not only survives in the present, but is there for the future generations too. It also made me realise just how much of a throwaway purchase it had become in our household as well.
Milk is a staple of many a fridge up and down the country. We use it every day, and would undoubtedly be lost without it, yet it has become so easy to grab a pint for a few pennies and throw it in the trolley without a thought.
Milk Man showed how some farmers have decided to cut out the middle man and brand, bottle and sell their own milk direct to the public, and we’re very lucky that we have a 6th generation dairy farm, Roan’s Dairy, doing just that right here in Dumfries and Galloway. We’ve been harping on for months about making sure to start buying our milk from them, they even stock it in our local bakers, yet because of the convenience of the supermarket, we’ve just never followed through on our promise.
Today, that changed. Rather than pop in to the supermarket while out getting sheep supplies at Tarff, I made the conscious effort to go out of my way to put my money where my mouth is and buy four pints of Roan’s milk at the bakery. If we all made that one small change to our routine, we could make a massive difference to dairy farmers across the country.
So let’s all join Gareth in raising a pint to the hard working dairy farmers of the UK, struggling against the odds to keep milk on the shelves and, maybe, all do our bit to help them through the tough times.
If you don’t have BBC Wales, or just missed the show, you can catch the whole Milk Man series on BBC iPlayer.
If you are interested in supporting the dairy industry through doorstep delivery, you can find your local milkman with the handy FindMeAMilkman site from DairyUK.