Kent farmer to give up dairy after 100 years on family farm

A dairy farmer from Kent has told Farmers Weekly of his decision to give up his dairy herd, after last year celebrating 100 years of heritage on the family farm.

The farmer, who asked to remain anonymous, explained that last year’s plummeting milk price had made it impossible for him to continue.

He said: “I’m losing money, fairly rapidly, on the low milk prices. I am a cattle farmer, I love my cattle, and I’ve spent the last 30 years on this farm trying to sustain the dairy side of things.

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“Giving up the cows is tremendously difficult, but to lose the farm itself after 100 years would be worse, so I can’t keep banging my fist on the table and saying I want to be a dairy farmer.

“I’m committed, and I’ve tried to fight and hold on as long as I can, but I can’t risk not paying my mortgage and losing everything.”


With dairy having played a major part in the family’s 100 years on the farm, the decision to sell the herd has not been taken lightly.

“It’s not a sudden decision at all,” explained the farmer. “It’s just the milk price means that there’s not the money to invest back into the farm, needed for infrastructure improvements. We’re not in the priority area for grant funding.

“I’ve been told for a long time to get rid of the cows, because storing cars and caravans on the farm will be more profitable. How is that allowable?”

The NFU’s latest Dairy Intentions Survey revealed that this is a sad reality facing many dairy farmers, with 10% of those surveyed saying they are likely to stop producing milk by 2025. The number of dairy farmers in the UK has already fallen by almost 5% in the past year.

“We want to make nutritious food for the country, but it’s not financially viable to do so any more,” the farmer said. “The next generation aren’t keen on dairy either. They see the stress their father is going through just to keep going each day.”


The sale of the herd will have knock-on effects for a host of local businesses and students that regularly visit the farm.

The farmer says: “I’ve had an excellent vet involved with the farm for the last 15 years, who has helped us up our game tremendously, and I will very much miss having contact with her.

 “There are so many industries that thrive off the back of agriculture, whether it’s the vet, the foot trimmer, the nutritionist, the feed companies, the vet students and work experience kids. It’s a huge loss.”

A sale date is set for the cattle in the spring.

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