Eth­i­cal dairy seeks pub­lic sup­port

The Galloway News - - FARMING REVIEW - Stu­art Gille­spie

An award-win­ning busi­ness is look­ing for help rais­ing £50,000 to sup­port their new ap­proach to dairy farm­ing.

The Eth­i­cal Dairy at Rain­ton near Gatehouse has launched an on­line crowd­fund­ing cam­paign to as they bid to prove the vi­a­bil­ity of low-in­ten­sity dairy farm­ing, which puts the em­pha­sis on al­low­ing calves to stay with their mothers to suckle.

Talks with eth­i­cal in­vestors have stalled and the money is needed to help sup­port the cost of mov­ing to the new model. Re­wards on offer in­clude a year’s sup­ply of cheese and the chance to spon­sor ex­per­i­ments to make new cheese.

The Eth­i­cal Dairy is run by David and Wilma Fin­lay, who are also be­hind Cream O’Gal­loway ice cream.

David said: “Be­cause we are ten­ant farm­ers, we have lit­tle se­cu­rity to offer tra­di­tional lenders so we have been ex­plor­ing bring­ing an in­vestor into the busi­ness for a cou­ple of years.

“We were as­sured by ad­vi­sors that an eth­i­cal in­vestor would be in place by the end of last month, but frus­trat­ingly that hasn’t hap­pened.

“At the same time we have also been ap­proached by mem­bers of the pub­lic who have in­di­cated that they want to help us prove this model faster. So we have launched a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign.

“Our goal is to prove that cow with calf dairy farm­ing can be vi­able at a com­mer­cial scale and we are mak­ing good progress to­wards this.

“There are sev­eral rea­sons why we need to in­crease in­vest­ment at this time and the key rea­son is that de­mand for our prod­ucts is greater than we ex­pected, which means we need to speed up our long term plans, which means in­creas­ing in­vest­ment in pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties faster than an­tic­i­pated.”

In June, the Eth­i­cal Dairy was handed nearly £ 160,000 through a Scot­tish Govern­ment grants scheme which was to be used to help in­crease pro­duc­tion 10 fold.

How­ever, this money needs to be paid up front be­fore be­ing re­claimed, with the £50,000 crowd­fun­der help­ing to sup­port cash flow.

David added: “Since we want to share our model freely with other farm­ers and since our goal is to prove this con­cept works, not make mas­sive prof­its, it would seem we are a poor fit with tra­di­tional in­vestors.

“So we are invit­ing mem­bers of the pub­lic to con­trib­ute di­rectly to help­ing us prove this model.

“We have pulled to­gether a fairly quirky se­lec­tion of re­wards, every­thing from be­ing a cheese test­ing cham­pion to an on-pack spon­sor to special events, and of course lots of cheese-re­lated re­wards.

“The crowd­fun­der has been launched in the spirit of pro­vid­ing a way for peo­ple who sup­port what we are do­ing to con­trib­ute di­rectly to it.”

The crowd­fun­der can be found at www. crowd­fun­der.co.uk/theeth­i­cal­dairy. Twin Wall & Land Drain Coil Sewer Pipe & Fit­tings Large Di­am­e­ter Pipe Con­crete Rings Sep­tic Tanks MDPE Pipe Philmac Fit­tings Largest Stock of Pipes in South West Scot­land! Best Prices Guar­an­teed

Look­ing for sup­port David Fin­lay of The Eth­i­cal Dairy at Rain­ton, Gatehouse of Fleet

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