A FAMILY-OWNED farm has joined a national campaign calling for transparency in the dairy industry.
Northney Dairy in Hayling Island has pledged its support for the Free Range Dairy Network in a bid to highlight the origins of milk across the country.
As part of the drive, products from the farm will carry the consumer interest company’s Pasture Promise logo – showing consumers its livestock are allowed to graze freely, outdoors, for at least 180 days each year.
The emblem – which signifies free range milk – was created to combat so-called ‘fake farm’ labels, which the firm claims have misled shoppers by appearing in UK supermarkets over the past two years.
Tim Pike manages milk processing and sales at Northney Dairy.
Describing the farm’s commitment to free range produce, the businessman – who is also Havant Borough Council’s cabinet lead for infrastructure – said: ‘Free-range milk is a new concept and it is all about encouraging farmers to let their cows graze outside.
‘Most people would think all farms already do, but this isn’t the case any more with many bigger herds.
‘Free range dairy is about farmers committing to having their cows grazing in the fields for at least six months in the year.
‘Here at Northney Farm we always exceed that and we normally have our cows outside for seven or eight months of the year.’
The driving force behind his firm’s participation in the campaign, Mr Pike says, is the consumer’s right to know where their products come from.
He said: ‘Lots of big farms keep their cows inside all-year long and bring food to them, instead of grazing – lots of customers don’t know this.
‘By teaming up with the Free Range Dairy Network, we’re providing assurance we’re not part of that trend, encouraging other farmers to do the same.’
As part of its initiative, the Free Range Dairy Network will publish grazing figures from its member farms – showing the number of days each establishment keeps its cows outside all year.
The company’s director, Carol Lever, said: ‘We believe by publicising our grazing records each year, it will not only strengthen the integrity of our grazing credentials but also encourage others.’