Congratulations to The Davis Family of RIVERMEAD who took home two fantastic accolades from The British Farming Awards: Gold in the Dairy Farmer of the Year and Silver in the Farming Family of the Year categories.
The Davis’ have had a wonderful year on the show circuit and have held a highly successful on farm open day and select sale.
The following is borrowed from the British Farming Awards website:
Westcott Farm is a tenanted farm owned by Devon County Council, with the Davis Family farming the 101 hectares (250 acres) on a farm business tenancy. A further 18 hectares (45 acres) are rented from the same landlord on a short-term tenancy and a further 22ha (55 acres) rented from a private landlord on a five-year FBT.
The wider family are involved in the business but the main family members looking after the day-to-day running are Gordon, his sons Mark and Kevin alongside Richard Saxby. The farm is home to a herd of 280 Jersey cows and their followers with the milking portion producing about two million litres of high constituent milk each year.
Rivermead Dairy also buys in an additional 4-5 m litres from Jersey milk producers across the south of England. Using their own fleet of tankers, this milk is then distributed to processors of high-end and speciality cheeses and desserts, alongside more traditional products such as Devonshire clotted cream, ice cream and yoghurts.
Gordon says the setting up of this second dairy business has allowed the family to be in control of their own destiny. He says “diversifying has allowed us to purchase new equipment and invest in facilities and staff”. Noted for its success on the show circuit, the Rivermead herd is fully housed and Richard Saxby explains there is an emphasis on cow health and welfare. Examples of which include strict Johnes control and their commitment to reducing antibiotic usage, with only 4% of the herd receiving a dry cow tube at drying off.
This is all part of their focus on sustainability says Gordon. “The general public may well demand far higher welfare standards and accountability then they do presently. We as farmers need to be prepared for this and answerable to it. “We need to ensure our farm suppliers are accountable for their actions and present a good image to the image to the public at all times”.