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Heritage and biodiversity remain priority for Guernsey Dairy's 2020 Business Plan

19 October 2020

Milk production remains the most important farm enterprise in Guernsey, with more than half of the island's 15,250 vergees of agricultural land used by dairy farmers.  Sales of milk to the dairy provides their primary source of income. 

Guernsey Dairy general manager, Andrew Tabel, said the Business Plan emphasises its principle purpose as being an economic enabler to the dairy farming industry.

"The dairy industry has shaped the local landscape and provided a habitat for our wildlife for centuries.  Nearly half of the island is allocated to agriculture with dairy farms constituting around a quarter of this. Guernsey dairy farming continues to make a positive contribution to Guernsey's economy whilst upholding the management of the countryside and its environmental value."

There are currently 13 local dairy farms, and around 1,450 milking cows, producing approximately 8 million litres of milk each year. 

Mr Tabel said they were crucial to the upkeep of the island's traditional rural character. 

"Small scale, non-intensive farming makes an important contribution to our countryside and environment. Guernsey is made up of over 3,000 small fields of Celtic design separated by more than 900 miles of hedgerows and earthbanks, interconnecting parishes, fiefdoms and smaller parcels of land which act as biodiversity corridors and habitat for the island's wildlife," he said. 

"Our farmers are the primary custodians looking after the island's countryside with a great deal of pride.  What enables them to do that is through the purchase and sale of milk produced on local farms."

Local dairy farms have individual biodiversity action plans.  Unlike most of the island's food supplies, local dairy produce is not transported over long distances, which is more environmentally friendly and ensures the "grass to glass" process is reduced.   

The Business Plan aims to encourage support and understanding of the dairy industry through education, farm and dairy tours, and school visits.

Guernsey Dairy is committed to purchasing all milk produced by local farms and is currently working with farmers to align raw milk production with liquid milk sales whilst maintaining year-round supply.  

This will reduce costs and improve profitability for the Dairy. 

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