By Wendy Owen

A PREMIUM of 2.7ppl is being offered to farmers supplying milk for a new environmentally friendly liquid branding scheme to be launched this autumn.

The company behind the “White & Wild” milk brand is Agri-Trade Direct, a former agricultural marketing group that is now a farmers buying consortium with 200 members.

The project is linked with the Wildlife Trusts, a country-wide organisation which has added its logo to the milk cartons.

The trusts, which have more than 300,000 members nationally, will receive 2.3p for each litre of milk sold.

Agri-Trade managing director, Ken Whitley, expects the brand to command a 6ppl premium at point of sale and predicts it could corner a 5% market share.

“Farmers selling milk to us receive a premium but first they have to pay for a visit from the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, which will draw up an action plan to encourage wildlife on their farm,” explains Mr Whitley.

“An average dairy farm with 100 cows could get more than 16,000 a year in premium. Some of this will have to be spent on environmental work but there will be money left over.”

Milk for the White & Wild brand will initially come from members of Sorn milk, a 48-strong producer group based in the Scottish borders.

“We are aiming for sales of 670,000m litres of milk eventually,” says Mr Whitley. “That would support 1000 farmers and cover 300,000 acres of farmland.”

He adds that the project has not yet secured a firm sales contract with a buyer, but the supermarkets have expressed a lot of interest.