Flagged as Spam

Tue, 01/03/2022 - 14:29pm

David has just had a comment flagged as spam and deleted* from a good article written by Patrick Holden on the dairy industry. Naturally David would go further than Patrick in commenting on how broken the dairy farming system is. So we thought we'd publish it below.

You can read Patrick Holden's article here: https://www.resilience.org/stories/2022-02-28/paying-a-proper-price-for…

*UPDATE - it seems David's deleted comment has now been reinstated beneath the article - thank you to Resilience for sorting that out.

And David's comment in response is copied below.

With the greatest respect, Patrick, I take a slightly different view of the dairy industry's drive to intensify. True, successive governments have pursued cheap food policies at high cost to welfare, the environment and society at large. This has not helped. However, five years ago we had a visit from 3 vets to our farm who practiced in the region of Italy that has the sole right to supply milk for the production of Parmesan cheese. At that time UK producers were being paid around 25 pence per litre for their milk. Dairy farmers in this region of Italy were being paid the equivalent of 60 pence per litre. Were they investing in their environmental and welfare infrastructures? No. They were doubling up their cow numbers, which would only exacerbate these issues. Have Italian farmers a greatly different outlook on welfare and environmental issues than their UK counterparts? I don't think so.

Why is the industry intensifying? It starts in our little farming bubbles where respect is earned from boasting about cow numbers and yields. It continues in our colleges and universities where training facilities have to provide the most up-to-date technologies to attract students, and professors are beholden to their research funders who, in turn, are manufacturing these technologies. The manufacturers and suppliers of these technologies are providing jobs and paying taxes to a government desperate for both. Many of these technologies are now being shown to be hugely damaging to the environment and their use merely facilitates the expansion of cow numbers, but few of us are good enough to manage the associated increases in welfare challenges. The 'good' news is that there are even more jobs and taxes to be made from cleaning up the mess and misery left in industrial farming's wake.
Cynical? Or wearily realistic...

We featured in that Panorama programme even when we knew that we would be attacked by farmers and vegans alike (strange bedfellows!). Our cow-with-calf dairying model is as counter intuitive as organic farming was when you, Patrick, were an early advocate of organics (and our mentor). I now truly believe that we can make this model of dairying competitive with our 2000 cow neighbour, but its difficulty of management will ensure only family sized farms will be able to offer it. Already this month we have 6 farming groups booked to visit our farm to learn how we are making this system work. Not because they are bowled over by the idea that they want to go down this road, but because their customers are asking for it.

Our secret? Driving out cost. A nature-based, regenerative farming system that takes the money we used to spend on these toxic technologies and investing instead in our land, our animals and our people.