Neil Baker sees need to communicate with consumers

Well you live and learn, we’ve had an interesting summer so far, I thought we were fairly invisible to our local community, but as it turns out this is not the case. It appears our way of doing things has not gone unnoticed around these parts.

It’s been a season of missed weather windows (in a season with few openings), which seemed to start forcing us to harvest at times we really don’t want to – midnight, early mornings and Sundays. It’s quite hard to convince local residents who live on one of our silage trailer routes that we’d all prefer to be sat in our garden having a barbeque on a sunny Sunday afternoon just like them and yes I’d be a little hacked off with a trailer passing by every five minutes.

I guess most people only hear the noise and see the hassle and I know they don’t really care about my forage quality and the effects of poor forage on my cows and my profit. Why should they? This does get me thinking about how we can expect to survive, let alone prosper and grow our businesses, in the present climate of what I see as a complete disconnection with our consumers and neighbours.

This year we took part in Open Farm Sunday, talked to groups like the WI, Young Farmers, local papers and radio and tried to raise the profile of dairy farming locally, but it’s an uphill struggle. I see it as the number one issue for us – what’s the point in us doing our bit to make our cows life better and improve profits, when our consumers, on the whole, think we should be nothing more than park keepers to maintain the view. We all really need to work out how we can reconnect with our consumers and explain what we do every day.

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