First Milk has joined forces with Morrisons supermarkets to improve sustainability in the British cheese supply chain.
The first step has been to coordinate and engage a group of First Milk dairy farmers in Ayrshire to come up with projects that can boost efficiencies on farm.
The move is part of Morrisons Farm Programme, a UK wide initiative with the core aim of helping build a sustainable farming industry. The retailer is developing a network of farmer groups around the country and investing in a range of applied research projects, covering dairy, beef, lamb, pork and poultry.
First Milk producer Billy Lynch, farms near Maybole in Ayrshire and is taking part in the joint initiative. "Like every other dairy farmer, I want to drive efficiency in my business," he commented. "Hopefully, the scope and scale of the projects that we are planning with Morrisons can help take us closer to finding solutions."
Kate Allum, First Milk's Executive Director for cheese, added: "Our initial work with
Morrisons has led to some very constructive discussions. Everyone involved agrees that for this initiative to work, there needs to be development throughout the cheese supply chain. This may involve different ways of working for the farmers, for cheese production and ultimately for our supply into Morrisons."
Morrisons Head of Agriculture, David Evans, said: "We are delighted at the positive response we've had from First Milk and the Ayrshire dairy farmers. They have already identified key areas that are a drain on dairy business profitability and we have agreed to fund the work as part of our Farm Programme.
"No one believes that there are any quick fixes to what are often complex problems, but by working together we can have a far better chance of finding both short term and long term solutions that can underpin a viable British farming industry."Editor's Notes:
First Milk has been the major supplier of British Cheddar into the retailer for a number of years. The creameries at Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire and Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula are the two main sites, where cheddar is produced for Morrisons. The main volume of cheddar is sold under the Morrisons brand and is clearly labelled as British to ensure that the Morrisons shopper knows the origin of their cheddar.
Morrisons launched its Farm Programme in 2009, developing a network of farmer groups across the UK to drive applied research with the core aim of developing a sustainable British agriculture industry. The supermarket has its own farm in Ayrshire, a 1000 acre beef and sheep enterprise at Dumfries House near Cumnock.
For further information, contact:
Paul Flanagan, First Milk Group communications director, 07767 241452.