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A monthly newsletter brought to you by Free Range Dairy Network
Volume 2, Issue 4
November 2016

Editor’s Comment

Free Range Dairy | Pasture Promise LogoThis winter the trend is for everything hygge – which is a Danish word for wellbeing, graciousness, enjoying the company of your family and friends. Conjured up by cosy woolly jumpers and socks, a cup of hot chocolate and an open fire, basically moving indoors. Right now, that’s what’s happening on the dairy farms as the cows come in for the winter, swapping the cold and rain for the shelter of the barns. Animal welfare is always paramount for Free Range Dairy Network, which is why when it gets too cold and wet and the grass stops growing, the cows are brought inside for food and shelter.

Winter time is also a great time for indoor festivals and we headed to Manchester for this year’s coffee festival at Victoria Warehouse in early November.

We’ve also had our farmers independently audited by NSF International, a food standards agency and we handed out certificates to farmers this month.

The news is also full of the expected shortage of cream, butter and cheese for Christmas. So many dairy farmers have gone out of business or just given up due to the dairy crisis. It really highlights how much we need to value our dairy farmers and the products they produce. Cheap milk might benefit consumers but it comes at a price. It has consistently driven farmers out of business, some farmers that have run dairy farms for generations and once lost never to come back. Being part of Free Range Dairy Network is an important way to help keep dairy farmers in business. We’re working not only to keep cows in fields but also deliver a fair price to farmers for their milk and keep them going for the next generation.

This month we have also seen a call for a reduction in routine antibiotic use in farming. This is something we agree with and we’re supporters of Alliance to Save our Antibiotics. Next year we will be running workshops with farmers to look at practical ways to reduce antibiotic us and I’ll share more about this next year.

Best Wishes,

Carol Lever
Free Range Dairy Network CIC

You can follow us on
@freerangedairy  freerangedairy_cic

In this Issue

1. Manchester Coffee Festival

2. Accreditation of Free Range Dairy Farmers

3. Full Fat for Children

4. Antibiotics Awareness Week


Manchester Coffee Festival

For the second year running, Stephenson’s Dairy supplied all of the baristas at the event with Pasture Promise free range milk. It was a great festival with coffee roasters and baristas from across the UK. The coffee tasting competition was great to watch as they slurped their way through a variety of coffee beans. It was won by Freda Yuan from Caravan, well done. It was also great to have Pasture Promise free range milk used in the latte art competition too.

Everyone loved the milk. We had kids asking for it, we had all the baristas saying how great it was to work with and the coffee drinkers really enjoyed it.

It was described as delicious, sweet, creamy, a pleasure to work with and many people brought over friends to specially try it  - saying it was their favourite milk.

Great to have such fantastic reviews and we look forward to working with other coffee festivals across the UK next year and hopefully see some of you there too.

Accreditation of Free Range Dairy Farmers

Founded in 1944, NSF mission is to protect and improve global human health. In the UK, they worked with us on our Free Range Dairy standards and are the ones to independently check our farmers. They are an independent, accredited organisation, that test, audit and certify products and systems as well as provide education and risk management.

As there are no Free Range standards set in legislation in relation to milk, it’s important that we work with respectable organisations to ensure that the standards we have for our Pasture Promise logo are credible. Helping the farmers to achieve the standards and putting grazing for cows at the forefront of what free range milk is all about.

“As the Livestock Schemes Manager for NSF I have been working with Free Range Dairy to assist the development of the standards and conducting trial inspections on farm. NSF are pleased to be associated with this initiative and will be responsible for on farm inspection, of FRD dairy members. Certification will be issued by Free Range Dairy Network.  NSF looks forward to continuing to work with the team at Free Range Dairy.” Roger Briddock, NSF Livestock Schemes Manager

All Free Range Dairy farms are initially checked by Free Range Dairy Network to ensure there is enough grazing space on the farm to the stocking rate. Neil with his 30 years of dairy farming experience uses that knowledge to do a first assessment. They are then given the necessary forms to fill in and keep ready for their inspection by an independent assessor.

In Yorkshire, we had a review meeting with farmers, processors, wholesalers and other business partners. We are all really pleased with how things are coming together for the network and we have three new farmer/producers come on board.

Free Range Dairy Network is not a co-op but our aims are to work together in a mutually beneficial way. 

Full Fat for Children

An article in The Daily Mail recently says that children who drink full fat milk are more likely to be slimmer than those that drink semi skimmed milk. The reasoning being that whole milk fills them up so they are less likely to go looking for sweets or treats to snack on.

The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition involved 2,745 children ages two to six years. It surveyed parents, measured height and weight to calculate BMI and took blood samples to assess vitamin D levels. Full fat carries higher levels of Vitamin D, which is good for immune system, emotional wellbeing, depression, anxiety and weak bones. Vitamin D is soluble in fat rather than water, the higher fat content in full milk means it carries more of the vitamin.

I’m a big fan of whole milk or full fat milk, although the term full fat milk is misleading. Whole milk (full fat) contains only 3.8% fat. If I saw a product in the supermarket with that on the label no doubt it would be marketed as low fat or diet food. The fat in milk is different from trans fats in processed food.

The fat in whole milk helps you not only absorb the vitamin D but also vitamins A, D, E and K and several studies have found that the saturated fat in whole milk doesn’t appear to increase the risk of heart disease.

“Many eaters have been given the message that fat is a pathway to diabetes and heart disease, but that’s simply not the case,” says Dr. Ramsey. In fact, “Fats are essential for human health,” he says. “Your brain is 60 percent fat. Your cells are surrounded by fat. The low-fat movement is simply based on bad science.”

There are so many conflicting advice on fat and whether it’s good or bad for you, sometimes you wonder who to listen to? I think the more natural the better and I for one always buy whole milk and ask for it when I’m buying a hot drink outside the home.

Antibiotics Awareness Week

Recently it was World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016 which called for action on the misuse of antibiotics in farming.

The routine mass-medication of farm animals is contributing to the emergence of an antibiotic-resistance crisis and its predicted that by 2050 antibiotic-resistant disease will kill one person every 3 seconds.

What’s more, the routine use of antibiotics – particularly in pigs and poultry – is often used to compensate for the fact that animals are kept in intensive conditions where the risk of disease runs high. This is because whole groups of farm animals are often preventatively dosed with important antibiotics just to stay healthy – even when no disease has been diagnosed in any of the animals.

This is something that’s important to Free Range Dairy Network and we have already surveyed our members and are planning workshops in the new year.

If you have any stories to contribute then please contact Free Range Dairy at
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