From Dugdale Nutrition, Clitheroe, Lancashire, 18 July 2011
Much has been said about the problems facing the UK dairy industry with focus being on the ‘fairness’ of prices paid to farmers for their milk. This says farmer’s wife, Kathleen Calvert, is only part of the story and that the problems being faced by dairy farmers do not stop at the farm gate but threaten the thousands of other business and jobs both locally and nationally.
Maintaining viable dairy farms not only protects livelihoods of farming families and others directly involved, it also makes a major contribution to local economies and the future of businesses, jobs, and families in the locality.
That is the key message from dairy farmer’s wife, Kathleen Calvert, who asks for a fair deal for dairy farmers who receive a significantly lower share of the retail milk price than ten years ago, despite considerably higher costs”.
She says, “We are losing hold of a vital skills base at an alarming rate as dedicated dairy farming families are no longer financially able or prepared to work at a continual loss. We believe that many milk buyers gamble with the continuity and security of the UK milk supply by keeping much of the profit further up the market chain.
“Despite varying business structures and the importance of food production, most farm gate prices are now lower than production costs. This has a knock on effect on a wide range of other businesses and livelihoods of countless people involved, ultimately leading to pressure on incomes.
This in turn is a threat to employment in rural areas. where jobs are already hard to come by. Recently when meeting our local MP I realised our farm alone uses around 60 suppliers,” she said.
Derrick and Kathleen Calvert’s Manor House Farm at Paythorne on the Lancashire, Yorkshire border is home to a 180 Pedigree Holstein milking herd managed on a high input/high output milk production system with the herd averaging around 9,000-9,500 litres per cow. Calving all year round with consistently good hygiene and milk quality, all replacement stock is home bred and animal comfort and longevity are priorities.
From strong dairy farming backgrounds, values held by the Calvert family are typical of many family farms. Derrick is full time on farm and Kathleen works part time as well as helping with the farm and looking after the mass of paper work now associated with dairy farming.
Eldest daughter Sara works part time on the farm, her boyfriend William is full time assistant herdsman, local young farmer James has helped since leaving school, and local contractors are used.
The family say they use local suppliers where possible even if not the cheapest option. More important is value for money and a level and quality of service essential to the smooth running of a business operating 365 days a year in all weathers.
Derrick is the third generation of his family using local feed supplier Dugdale Nutrition of Clitheroe where managing director, Matthew Dugdale is the sixth generation to lead the family owned company in its 160 year history.
The company specialises in feeds for ruminant animals, its core market being dairy farming. This means its 49 employees and their families rely heavily in turn on local dairy farms for their livelihood. Even before taking Dugdales’ own suppliers, sub-contractors and hauliers into account – Matthew estimates at peak times up to 30 more people derive a large proportion of their income from Dugdale Nutrition.
Matthew said: “Dairy farming is like any business, needing a fair and sustainable price for its product to ensure a fair income for the long hours worked and a decent return on the often large amounts of capital employed, and very importantly, surplus profit to reinvest for the future.”
“Likewise beef and sheep sectors with most farms heavily reliant on government and EU support, including environmental schemes, to make any profit at all”.
Locally based businesses circulate profits within the communities they serve. In turn they are reliant on viable, widespread and profitable farm businesses adding immense value to local economies.
Further information from Peter Wormleighton, Sales Manager, Dugdale Nutrition, Bellman Mill, Salthill, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB71QW. Tel: 0800 0271222. Email: email@example.com.
Release date: 18 July 2011
Release issued by Neil Ryder, Neil Ryder Communications, 10 Hamilton Drive, Lancaster, LA1 5HS Tel: 01524 389425. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.