Farmer Focus: How goat milk market changed for the worse

This is my final Farmer Focus article. In the two-and-a-half years I have been writing a lot has changed on all fronts.

The biggest issues for British farmers in that time have been the uncertainty of Brexit and the resulting repatriation of agricultural policy.

When I started this column, the biggest issues in the goat milk sector were undersupply and recruitment of new suppliers.

See also: 6 top tips for getting into milking goats

Back then I warned it was a niche market. Now we have quotas, price cuts and new producers losing their milk contracts. The milk price cut is now starting to bite reducing our income significantly.

I have also become more involved with NFU Cymru and done some media work to help get the farming message across. I have seen the huge amount of work done for the members by the staff and office holders in the NFU.

On the farm we have taken on some more land on a short-term farm business tenancy, but haven’t significantly increased goat numbers.

We have, after a long, drawn-out process, obtained planning permission for a new dwelling with an agricultural tie.

In the future, we are looking at a new enterprise to spread the risk, although milking is so relentless we have discounted taking on any new species of animal.

There may be some opportunities for some share farming or contract farming in the locality, as landowners look to protect themselves from potential inheritance tax changes.

The children are growing up fast, with Tommy playing cricket for school, club and county and Megan busy with her pony.

It is often hard to find the time to watch them. There will always be farming jobs that need doing, but the children will soon be grown up and gone so we need to find the time.

Over all, I have enjoyed writing the column and thank Jess for doing the proof reading. It is surprising who reads Farmers Weekly, accountants, bank managers, farmers in France and lots of others that you wouldn’t expect to.