Phil Wilson MP visited local organic dairy farm Acorn Dairies, to investigate ways to support the local farming community better through uncertain times following Britain's vote to the leave the EU.
Acorn Dairies are a family business. To secure their future, in 2000 they diversified their business model to process and sell their milk (all organic) directly to the end consumer- be this local councils, cafes, supermarkets or individual doorstep customers. The family brand of Acorn Dairy is now well known as the regional organic milk supplier. They can supply organic milk at prices lower than the supermarkets, as they are cutting out two middlemen.
Local milk consumers are keen to know how and where their milk is produced and to visit the cows during open farm events. Cow and calf welfare is increasingly important to the consumer. Organic standards are the highest and Acorn Dairy hold a Compassion in World Farming Good Dairy award. The strong local demand for organic milk has enabled Acorn Dairy to expand and the business now employs 34 people. Organic farms also host 50% more wildlife, due to no chemical herbicides or pesticides being used. Acorn Dairy now hosts over 86 bird species, with some on the endangered red list.
Phil said of the visit “It was excellent to meet the Tweddle family and was particularly impressed at not only their passion for what they do but also at their keen business acumen. It is no doubt that life is set to get harder for our Dairy farmers in County Durham post-brexit particularly with potential lost subsidies. The Tweddle family display the determination and resilience that will be needed over the next few years.
Julia one of the Dairies directors said ‘We are delighted our MP shows genuine concern and interest in our business and wider industry. Phil was keen to find out what issues we are tackling as a farming business on a local level and also what challenges we see coming our way post Brexit. As a company we are clear that organic dairy farming is a win for all involved- the environment, cows and consumer and appreciate the interest and support of our local politicians to develop what we do further.”