Going organic has become increasingly popular of late, with many consumers opting for organic produce due to the taste, quality and concerns over pesticides and antibiotic residue in conventionally’ produced food. The organic market is booming, with organic options now available in most sectors. Total organic growth in the UK has increased by 4.9% and supermarket sales have seen an upsurge of 3.2%. As Organic farmers we are celebrating going organic this September!
At the heart of The Woodhorn Group is our 1500 acre organic arable and dairy farm, stretching across Chichester plain and the South Downs. Dairy is the most popular organic category amongst British consumers with both milk and yoghurt sales accounting for 15% of the total market.
Our 240 strong dairy herd supplies The Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCO), the only 100% organic farmer-owned and farmer-run dairy cooperative in the UK. It is also the largest and longest established UK organic dairy cooperative and the second largest dedicated organic milk pool in the world. OMSCO supply numerous shops and brands, including Sainsbury’s and the top selling organic brand, Yeo Valley. OMSCO is also the largest organic cheese maker in the UK exporting successfully to the USA and across Europe.
Going organic is not just a label; it’s a way of life for the cows and us farmers. Heavily regulated and monitored, strict standards focus on animal welfare, minimum use of antibiotics in favour of ‘prevention rather than cure’ and the use of natural remedies (we even use acupuncture on our cows!). The holistic approach to the animals in our care extends to how we manage the environment in which we work, to how we look after our staff and our role in the local community.
‘Going Organic’ is the only way you can guarantee that the milk you drink is from cows that spend the grazing season outside and are not pushed beyond their limits. The 100% natural organic diet means our milk is pure, high in Omega 3 and tastes great! Going from grass to glass.
It is great that more people are switching to organic produce and at The Woodhorn Group we aim to share our passion with future generations. We hold farm visits for local schools throughout the year when children have the opportunity to learn the dairy process from start to finish and see what life is like on our farm.
We also grow a range of organic arable crops including wheat, beans, peas, oats, spring barley and maize. Wheat is used in organic bread, spring barley in organic beer and oats for organic porridge. However, much of what we grow is retained for our dairy herd and we are currently 95% self-sufficient in feed.
The UK food and farming sector is worth £108 billion to our economy and buying from British Farmers allows for a continuous cycle from farmer, to consumer, back to the farmer. Not only is September the month to go organic, but 12th-18th is Red Tractor Week which celebrates British Farming. Cameron Lewis, General Manager at The Woodhorn Group comments that ‘farming contributes to a big part of our economy; it’s the foundation to great British food. Buying from a British farm means you can trace where it has come from, you know the quality and you can guarantee the taste’.
Join us this September in celebrating Organic September and Back British Farming Day during Red Tractor Week!