This new initiative, which builds on the First4Milk responsible sourcing programme it launched last year, sees the business asking its members to commit to improvements within three main areas - people, animals and the earth.
The key elements of the new First4Milk Pledge include farmer members agreeing to provide cows with access to pasture for a minimum of 6 hours per day for 120 days during the grazing season; guaranteeing that no healthy animal, including calves, will be euthanised on farm; sharing antibiotic use data; enhancing biodiversity and soil health on farm and helping to promote a positive image of dairy.
Commenting on the launch, Shelagh Hancock, Chief Executive, said:
“Our First4Milk programme has already seen us make some ambitious commitments across our business, including committing to reductions in energy and water use, a 65% relative reduction in CO2e and the elimination of direct waste to landfill.
“These are challenging objectives, yet to ensure we are well-placed to deliver on our vision of dairy prosperity we need to do more. We are proud of the leading standards on First Milk members’ farms and know members exceed many of the national targets and outcomes in these areas. But with livestock-based food production continuing to be under the spotlight, we need to demonstrate we are proactively addressing these areas of public concern in order to prosper long-term.”
First Milk members are being asked to sign up to the First4Milk Pledge by June 30, 2020. Compliance with the Pledge commitments will be monitored through annual Farm Business Reviews and farm assurance audits, as well as through online data collection via the First4Milk platform including the member app.