This article by Katy Askew recently caught our eye given our desire to serve the best possible quality food menus here in Kerry, safe in the knowledge that local producers are being supported both fairly and that they are rewarded for their ethical methods of producing food ingredients:
“The Free Range Dairy Pasture Promise label was launched in the UK last week in an effort to alert consumers to whether the milk they buy is free range and “support farmers” by paying a “fair price” for cows that are kept in fields for at least six months of the year.
Here’s a really fun video from the guys over at the Free Range Dairy Network which demonstrates the happy life of a free-range dairy cow!
Free Range Dairy Network, a nationwide network of farmers who produce free-range milk, was formed in response to what it termed the “dairy crisis” hitting UK dairy farmers. According to the group, global market volatility in the dairy sector has resulted in a 30% drop in farmgate milk prices over the past 12 months. This, the Free Range Dairy Network argued, is driving “traditional family farms” out of business as milk is supplied from “increasingly intensive farming systems”.
The network aims to connect farmers with local milk processors to ensure dedicated milk collection from farms that will mean Pasture Promise milk is not mixed with milk from intensively farmed dairy cows – as is the current situation. The focus is on supplying smaller independent processors because, the Network said, this would support local communities.
“In today’s marketplace there is currently little alternative for dairy farmers other than the relentless pursuit of higher milk volumes, delivered from increasingly intensive methods. But, we want to offer farmers a vision of the future founded on value rather than volume. By labelling milk and dairy products with the Pasture Promise label we can define the value in their milk from traditional, seasonally grazed dairy herds and farming system,” dairy farmer Neil Darwent, co-director of the Free Range Dairy Network, commented.
Carol Lever, co-director Free Range Dairy Network, added: “Most consumers see pictures of cows grazing in fields when they buy milk and believe the milk they are buying has come from those cows. Whether you support intensive systems or not, at present because all the milk is mixed together you have no choice but to buy milk from those farms. The Free Range Dairy Pasture Promise label is a way for consumers to choose what type of farming system they want to support, safe in the knowledge this is helping keep pasture based farmers in business and cows in fields.”
Thank you to great article from Katy Askew & we applaud the efforts of the Free Range Dairy Network & others in implementing this type of labelling to provide a clear and concise choice for consumers.
And we’re certainly in favour of similar efforts being introduced to Ireland as we continue to strive to serve high quality Kerry restaurant food sourced from ethical local producers & beyond.