Learning about Organic at Yeo Valley
2 July 2012 - Last week our lead partner organisation the Soil Association along with Yeo Valley, hosted a visit to one of the Yeo Valley organic dairies. Lizzie from the FFLP HQ team was lucky enough to go along to learn more about organic farming, and to meet the famous Yeo Valley cows!
Yeo Valley is the UK’s largets British owned dairy company and a family run business, who take pride in looking after their animals and staff. You might remember them from their fun adverts (see below) or you may have been on a visit yourself as part of your farm links work.
The day began with some tasty homemade cookies and a talk about what makes organic farming different. We learned that organic farms are better for the environment, as they create habitats for wildlife to live in, and don’t use chemicals which can harm the land, animals or humans. Animals on organic farms have more space to roam and are reared to higher welfare standards.
You can watch this short film to learn more about animal welfare on organic farms.
The group enjoyed a delicious, locally sourced lunch then got the opportunity to see the British Friesian cows do the same as they munched away on grass, straw or hay, all grown on the farm. Due to the wet weather, some of the cows were indoors but usually they are outside in the fields during the summer months benefitting from the warm sun on their backs.
The cows are milked twice a day; if a cow is on medication, then she is removed from the milking herd until she’s better and there is no trace of the medication left in her milk. British Friesians are a very hardy and disease-resistant breed, and coupled with the low-stress, spacious environment provided for them, the cows are in tip-top condition to provide the yummy Yeo Valley dairy products.
After a visit to the wheat fields we headed back to the barn to enjoy the beautiful views over the lake (visit our Facebook page to see more photos) - no wonder the cows are so content! Everyone learned a great deal about organic food and farming, and about how the Yeo Valley works to preserve the land for many more happy years of farming in the valley.
Learning first hand from a farmer about the realities of producing the food that ends up on our plates, encourages children and young people to think about the choices they make as a consumer. If you would like to organise a visit to a local farm, get in touch with our Farm Links Officer , Will Marcombe firstname.lastname@example.org and check out the resource pages on our website.