A group of Nestlé farmers from Spain recently visited the UK for a two-day skill sharing session. The group of 36 was hosted by First Milk farmers who are part of the Nestlé Dalston supply group.
The Spanish farmers visited two UK farms on the first day of their visit where Duncan Maughan of Gateshaw Mill Farm, Category winner in First Milk’s Responsible Farming Awards in 2018, ran a session explaining his advanced knowledge and research in the area of soil health. It covered the benefits that can be brought to biodiversity, levels of carbon and water and improving efficiency through grass quality.
Later in the day, at Wickerfield Farm, the group were hosted by John Harrison and his son and they gave an extensive tour of the farm where they demonstrated the conservation work they are doing as part of the Nestlé Milk Plan. The session looked at stone-walling and how it can help biodiversity, the overall appearance of the countryside and provide protection from wind. John talked about his farm’s partnership with the Appleby Heritage centre which teaches these skills to the next generation with four 16 - 18 year olds also in attendance to carry out a demonstration to the visitors.
Nestlé’s Dalston factory was the destination for the second day of the visit where the group were given a site tour and shown how milk is processed and turned into well-known products. First Milk’s local farmers also attended and both groups of dairy farmers held a discussion on sharing best practice.
Nestlé has worked with farmer co-operative First Milk since 2003 and has been developing the Milk Plan since 2010. Robin Sundaram, Nestlé UK and Ireland’s Milk Buyer and Sustainable Sourcing Lead said: “The Milk Partnership played an important role in developing that closer relationship with the farmers and started the ball rolling on a number of sustainability activities. It was great to be able to arrange this knowledge exchange between UK and Spanish farmers and I know everybody who attended found the visit very valuable.”