The Bank will foreclose our farm unless we can raise enough money to pay our debts.
Hi, my name is James Whitaker.
In recent times, my family has done it's best to overcome hardship in dairy farming. In 2001, our herd was taken out as a precautionary measure by the government, to prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease in the area. In spite of this, we rebuilt our herd and started again. But in 2010, our family savings were shot to pieces by the collapse of our milk company 'Dairy Farmers of Britain' (DFB). We remained determined together to start again with a new company, 'Lancashire Farm'. However, due to the heart-breaking flooding this year we were left devastated, with fields of sludge and mud where grass should have been. Now, we face the daunting prospect of losing our farm to the bank.
We are a proud Christian Free-Range Dairy Farming family, and our direct ancestors have milked cows in Lancashire since at least the 1100's. My cows are very much like an extended family to me; and at 22 years old, I want to be the 24th generation of dairy farmer in my family.
We believe in the value of milk and dairy products from a traditional, pasture-based dairy herd. In the UK, it is becoming ever more rare for people to see cows out in the fields but we love to show people how happy the cows are to be in the fields, behaving naturally and enjoying some exercise. What my family will never do is be pushed into having an intensive dairy system.
We also strongly believe in proper animal welfare. If you can't treat animals with respect you should not be working with them.
Going forward, if I am able to continue farming, I would love to be able to convert the farm onto an organic system - something that is financially not an option for us currently. I believe that organic farming is the most sustainable option, as it does not involve using synthetic pesticides, etc.
- Every £1 we receive will be greeted by a tremendously loud moo from all the cows here at our farm, showing their appreciation for your passion and good will. They don't want to lose their home either!
- £50k would enable us to clear enough debt to keep the farm.
- Every 1p on top of this target would go towards the enhancement of soil fertility and biological diversity, which would be essential for converting to an organic farm.
If you do decide to donate anything to help us then Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! From James, Hannah, Tom and Valerie.
Edit: I have been given feedback that this project is not optimistic enough! Sorry about that - well we do have tons of reason to be optimistic about our future. Milk prices are expected to improve for us next year (if we can clear our debt), and there is an entire generation of young people growing up who understand and believe in the importance of locally sourced, free-range, organic milk. The future can indeed be a bright one!