Scots farmers launch crowdfunder to save local dairy

A group of Scottish dairy farmers have launched a bid to buy Campbeltown Creamery, producer of Mull of Kintyre cheddar, from First Milk.

Campbeltown Creamery, based on the southern tip of the Kintyre peninsula, has been producing cheese using milk from 29 farms in the area since 1923, and making Mull of Kintyre cheddar since the 1970s.

This week, those 29 farm businesses have launched a campaign to purchase the creamery and the Mull of Kintyre cheddar brand from farmer-owned dairy co-operative First Milk.

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In 2018, the co-op announced plans to sell Campbeltown Creamery as part of a move away from smaller-scale brands, and a buyer was found. However, this fell through in May 2019, creating an opportunity for a farmer-led buyout.

Known as the Mull of Kintyre Milk Supply Co-operative, the group plans to fund £1.5m of the purchase through a levy on every litre of milk produced, as well as creating a crowdfunding campaign with a target of £50,000.

Further information, including a video, can be found on the Crowdfunder website.

Thomas Cameron, a local dairy farmer, said: “We are currently facing a huge and exciting opportunity with a clear mission – to secure the future of the Campbeltown Creamery for the benefit of the Kintyre community.

“Dairy farms in the area need the creamery in order to thrive and the creamery needs us. Our farmers are young, enthusiastic, committed to sustainability, investment and the next generation, and have strong integrity – they are just the right group of people to secure this deal.”

The dairy farming sector in the Kintyre Peninsula and nearby Gigha contributes £3.2m/year to the local economy and provides 117 jobs directly on farm and a further 49 indirectly across Kintyre.

One of the 29 farmers supplying milk to Campbeltown Creamery is NFU Scotland milk committee chairman John Smith, who called the bid a bold and inspiring move from producers hoping to preserve their local dairy.

He said: “Dairy farmers in Kintyre have a fantastic story to tell, producing high-quality, grass-fed milk in a beautiful part of the country.

“Funders will take the Mull of Kintyre brand to the next level by getting behind a cheese that has real provenance.”