Dairymen are First Milk ambassadors
First Milk has appointed a group of leading dairy farmers keen to promote the co-operative message to drive membership growth.
The ambassador group, as First Milk dubs it, will attempt to recruit more farmers from across the north of England. First Milk claims about 350 new members applied to join, or have joined, the co-op since its launch in February.
However, this is well below expectations. Representatives of the Association of Dairy Farmers claimed that up to 1500 of their members who supplied dairies direct would follow their recommendation, made in January, to switch to First Milk.
First Milk chairman John Duncan admits: "Contact was lost over the spring period after foot-and-mouth struck and the whole event lost momentum. Better milk prices may also have taken the pressure off." Some ADF members also decided to join the Milk Group.
He hopes the ambassador group, which includes ADF members David Dugdale, Gerry Heath, Mike Gorton and Ken Pattinson, as well as First Milk executives, will re-ignite enthusiasm among direct suppliers for First Milk.
The move follows a similar initiative by the Milk Group in May, which took on four leading co-op minded dairy farmers to help secure an extra 1bn litres of milk over the following 12 months. *