First Milk launch new regenerative milk pool with Yeo Valley

Farmers in south-west England are being sought for a new regenerative milk pool, which has been established by First Milk in partnership with Yeo Valley Production.

The “Naturally Better Dairy Group” will pay its members a premium to supply the pool, and the milk will be used by manufacturer Yeo Valley to produce a range of dairy products.

Dairy farm businesses in the South West, including existing First Milk members, will be able to join and the group is aiming to secure about 50m litres/year of conventional milk.

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Farms that join the initiative will need to follow a set of regenerative principles with the aim of achieving high standards for animal welfare, climate, biodiversity, and the local community.

To be part of the group, farms will need to operate an outdoor, grass-based system with cows grazing at least 180 days a year. Minimum requirements in terms of milk quality, plastic recycling and fertiliser use will also apply.

First Milk chief executive Shelagh Hancock believes this approach to farming is the way to continue to produce affordable, nutritious food while addressing the growing climate and nature challenges.

Rob Sexton, Yeo Valley Production chief executive, said: “We are passionate about producing nutritious, affordable foods that are farmed in harmony with nature.

“This partnership will ensure great farming, producing natural, healthy food, is both affordable and scalable. We look forward to working closely with First Milk and its amazing farmers to nurture and nourish both people and the planet.”

Dairy co-operative First Milk is due to pay its existing producers a July price of 36.85p/litre for a manufacturing standard litre, including its member premium.