Senior Director of Arla, Graham Wilkinson, has advised farmers that they should embrace the increased interest in the dairy industry instead of being concerned.
Dairy still holds enviable market share
Speaking at the recent Dairy Tech event, Mr Wilkinson highlighted that dairy has always been a part of our everyday lives and that while there has certainly been an increase in people seeking dairy alternatives, the industry still features in 99.8% of UK households. He went on to say that farmers should embrace the public’s newfound interest in the dairy industry and take this opportunity to teach people about how a farm actually works and promote a reconnection to nature.
Farmers and the public need to work together
As part of his talk, Mr Wilkinson shared the success of Arla’s 360 Programme, a strategy that shares best practices for animal health and welfare, people development, environment and natural resources, community engagement, and economic resilience and reinvestment. He said that while the British public are proud of their farmers, there is some confusion over farming practices and how dairy products are made. He said greater clarity is needed which can only be achieved through a collaboration between farmers, retailers, the government, environmentalists and scientists. Quite the tall order.
However, there is evidence that such a collaboration is not only possible, but successful. Project Pollinator has seen a small group of farmers work alongside agronomists, experts in soil management and crop production, to learn how small areas of their land can be given over to producing resources for pollinators.
Dairy farmers need to be at their best
At the end of his speech, the Arla boss urged each farmer to turn inward and examine their farm through the eyes of an outside consumer. He said “There is no them and us. We are all consumers, but not everyone is a farmer. We have to help people, many of whom have spent little to no time in the countryside or on a farm, understand dairy better. To do this, every farm and every farmer needs to be at their very best.”