It is hard to express how depressing it is to get out of bed at 5.30am to work a 14 hour day to lose more money. It's difficult to carry on. We are dairy farmers on the north side of Dartmoor National Park with a small herd of 100 milking cows. We are struggling to survive. For every litre of milk we sell we now lose seven pence.
It is undoubtedly a very frustrating and worrying time for British dairy farmers. Milk prices are plummeting. With increased milk supply around the world and demand not increasing at the same pace, huge pressure has been put on milk values. For some it means they are now only getting around 25 pence-per-litre for their product. With the cost of production sitting much higher than this it is no wonder that many fear for the future of their farm businesses... What we also know is that it is clear that the British public want to back British farming and continue to support British dairy farmers during this difficult time.
A key achievement of the Forum has been to reduce the live export of calves by 90%: now just 2% of dairy calves born in Britain are exported live abroad. Professor John Webster, Emeritus Professor of Animal Husbandry at the University of Bristol speaking at the Calf Forum event emphasised that despite the title of the Forum, it's not about exports but alternatives.
The recent laboratory development of an in-vitro beef burger created from stem cells is causing quite a buzz amongst consumers. Most people's first reaction is one of disgust and trepidation. And then the many questions: how can I eat meat that was grown in a lab made possible only by human engineering?
Have you ever eaten veal? If not, you're not alone. Many people don't understand what veal is or think it's cruel because it comes from calves killed at a young age. Surely it's better to ensure they are treated well, and produce higher welfare meat from them, than let them go to waste as a simple by-product?