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Healthy environment, healthy milk: Explore our virtual farm tour

Healthy environment, healthy milk: Explore our virtual farm tour

Farmer and Cows

Fineview, a dairy farm managed by the Clark family in Dumfries and Galloway, is part of the innovative First Milk dairy cooperative which aims to deliver healthy fresh milk on sound environmental principles. Why not take a virtual tour and hear how delivering quality milk products needs a nurtured healthy soil, the encouragement of biodiversity, healthy cows and a sustainable farm enterprise.

This virtual tour is one of a series of SEFARI Gateway Innovative Knowledge Exchange funded tours designed to provide you with access to the many research facilities across Scotland whilst also giving you a taste of some of the work we do. Across SEFARI, world leading pioneering research is being undertaken that can really make a difference on the ground.  

During the creation of this virtual tour, we were welcomed to Fineview and the lush green gently sloping hills of Glenluce, an amazing innovative and award winning farm enterprise. The project brought farmers and researchers together to discuss the underpinning science, its application and utilisation in practice.  As part of this project, we also wanted to share our collective experience with you, and therefore, we created a series of short videos (accessible on the virtual tour) which discuss the range of interlinked issues that were identified. Important topics for milk production discussed includes the underlying soil health, the rich biodiversity of pasture, the importance of the health and welfare of the herd, the farm dairying enterprise and the value of cooperation.

Before we begin though, we should explain what is First Milk?

First Milk is a wholly British farmer-owned dairy co-operative with a vision of enriching life every day to secure the future. It is owned by family farms that supply consumers with milk and who invest capital back into the business. They produce award-winning cheddar, regional cheeses and dairy ingredients, as well as marketing fresh raw milk to many other UK dairy processors. First Milk work together as one team, with a focus on efficiency and quality, to deliver competitive total returns to their farmer members. Customers are at the heart of the business, and create value through strong, long-term partnerships.

First Milk have a vision to regenerate dairy farms to enrich life and are committed to achieve net zero by 2040 at the latest. They aim to sequester 100,000t of CO2e per annum on members’ farms by 2025.

On the tour, you can hear from:

Mark Brooking, discussing First Milk

First Milk will achieve these ambitious targets by encouraging their 700 members to adopt regenerative farming practices. We believe that these actions will not only sequester significant quantities of CO2 but will also begin to restore biodiversity on the farms whilst producing a fantastic nutritious product. We believe that working together we will be able to demonstrate that dairy farming done well can be part of the climate solution.

Lorna Cole, discussing Biodiversity

Under the Scottish Government’s (RESAS) Strategic Research Programmes we have worked with a variety of dairy farmers to identify actions that can increase wildlife on farms. 

Food production and biodiversity are inherently linked. From the myriad of beetles, flies and earthworms that recycle dung returning key nutrients into the soil, to the bees and flies that provide crucial pollination services. With biodiversity under threat, and invertebrate taxa in decline, action is needed to ensure that farms move towards more wildlife friendly management.  First Milk farmers are committed to restore biodiversity in their farms, pledging to regenerate soil health and create habitat for wildlife.