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First Milk and Morrisons to Reduce Energy Consumption on British Farms

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First Milk and Morrisons to Reduce Energy Consumption on British Farms

First Milk and Morrisons to Reduce Energy Consumption on British Farms
August 09
09:59 2010

First Milk, the UK’s largest farmer-owned dairy business, and Morrisons supermarkets have set up a strategic partnership to improve sustainability throughout the British cheese supply chain. The initial step for the partnership has been to work with a group of First Milk’s dairy farmers in Ayrshire on projects that can boost efficiencies on farm. After discussing a range of options, the producer group put forward two renewable energy projects.

Firstly, investigating the potential to use wind turbines to generate, use and/or sell electricity. Secondly, exploring the recovery of heat used in bulk milk tanks in order to produce hot water. Morrisons has agreed to support the initial trials for both projects and assist in the roll out to the wider First Milk membership.

First Milk has been the major supplier of British Cheddar into Morrisons for a number of years. The creameries at Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire and Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula are the two main sites where cheddar is produced for Morrisons. The main volume of cheddar is sold under the Morrisons brand and is clearly labelled as British to ensure that the Morrisons shopper knows the origin of their cheddar.

“As a business we take our environmental responsibility very seriously and want to reduce energy usage and dependency by our sites and our producers,” explains Kate Allum, chief executive of First Milk. “By working alongside Morrisons on these renewable energy projects, we can introduce members to alternative methods of energy consumption, while delivering financial savings to them that can be re-invested in other areas of their business. We will now trial both projects and following a review, plan to make the technology and learnings available to all our farmers.”

Morrisons launched its Farm Programme in 2009, developing a network of farmer groups across the UK to drive applied research with the core aim of developing a sustainable British agriculture industry. The farmer groups currently cover dairy, beef, lamb, pork and poultry.

“Our partnership with First Milk epitomises what the Morrisons Farm programme is all about. We are working directly with farmers and investing in projects that have the potential to deliver long term benefits to the farming industry,” says David Evans, head of agriculture at Morrisons, “The new ‘on farm’ trials of wind turbines and heat recovery in Ayrshire are particularly satisfying as these have developed from our earlier research work which identified that dairy farmers could use renewable energy forms to cut annual electricity bills by a third.”

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