Guernsey Dairy aims for RSPCA's welfare seal of approval
19 October 2020
The "Farm Assured" scheme is the charity's ethical food label, and covers every aspect of animal welfare. It demonstrates that the animals are cared for and enjoy a high quality of life.
Three of the island's 13 dairy farms have already completed the accreditation process, with others working towards achieving the standard in 2021. This will enable Guernsey Dairy to display the Farm Assured logo on all its products.
Guernsey Dairy general manager, Andrew Tabel, said it will provide reassurance to customers that high animal welfare standards amongst local dairy herds are being met.
"Islanders have always appreciated the great taste of Guernsey milk, which is something we are rightly proud of. However consumers nowadays are more knowledgeable and conscious of other factors, such as the environment, health, knowing where the products come from and that they are ethically produced.
"RSPCA Farm Assured provides that independent guarantee, and will help promote the island as a centre of farming excellence. As well as being certain of a great taste, anyone buying Guernsey Dairy products will know the cows that produce our milk are cared for within the context of high animal welfare standards. And, as it is 100% locally-produced, the journey from 'grass to glass' is minimal, which is also great for the environment."
The target of achieving the accreditation by mid-2021 is included in Guernsey Dairy's 2020 business plan, which has been published.
It sets out a number of priorities for the dairy, to improve efficiency, mitigate a decline in liquid milk sales, and to support a viable and sustainable local farming industry.
It has targeting cost savings of £125,000 a year at the current facility in St Andrews, where the dairy has been based since 1951.
In June, the States approved proposals which could see the dairy refurbished on the current site, or a new facility built in a different location. However that project is not expected to be complete until around 2024.
Mr Tabel said: "Although these are challenging times, they are also very exciting times as we plan for the long term future of the dairy farming industry in Guernsey. Our primary aim is to ensure the Dairy continues to act as an economic enabler to dairy farmers, preserve the Guernsey countryside, its traditional farming heritage and protect the iconic Guernsey cattle breed."
The dairy purchases all the milk produced by local farms, which is currently around 8 million litres a year. It requires around 7 million litres a year to meet demand for fresh liquid milk, with nearly 90% of local households being regular consumers.
The Dairy is developing a new sales and marketing plan, to roll out over the next 18 months, aimed at mitigating the decline in liquid milk consumption. It is also working with farmers to align milk production more closely with demand while ensuring the industry remains sustainable.
A copy of the business plan can be downloaded here: http://www.guernseydairy.com/businessplan
Notes to Media
· Guernsey Dairy acts as an economic enabler to local dairy farming industry, supporting the conservation of the island's unique rural environment, enhancing biodiversity, and upholding the generic integrity of the Guernsey breed.
· The 2020 Business Plan focuses on a number of challenges:
o The Dairy is obligated to take all suitable milk produced by local farmers.
o The farmers need these levels of income to survive as sustainable businesses and to deliver the community benefits the dairy industry provides.
o The Dairy requires around 7,000,000 litres of liquid milk a year to meet consumer requirements, however, liquid milk sales have declined consistently over the last ten years.
o The Dairy can only make trading surpluses if the liquid milk component is sold at full value to consumers.
o The price of liquid milk charged to consumers cannot be lifted significantly without affecting sales volumes.