Bungay dairy farm 'lost for words' after winning national innovation prize
PUBLISHED: 15:28 19 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:29 19 October 2018
British Farming Awards
An East Anglian dairy farm which created an award-winning cheese after switching to a herd of Montbeliarde cows is celebrating a national innovation title.
Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore, of Fen Farm Dairy near Bungay, won the Dairy Innovator of the Year category at the British Farming Awards.
Fourth generation farmer Mr Crickmore, who farms alongside his family, introduced a raw milk vending machine in 2011 to add value to the family’s core product.
And a switch to Montbeliarde cows led to the creation of its trademark Baron Bigod product, a raw milk Brie-de-Meaux style cheese now being supplied across the UK, Europe and Asia, into premium outlets such as Harrods and Fortnums, and through online sales.
The cows were initially bought in from the French Alps in 2012 and today half the 300-head are pure-bred, with the aim to be 100pc in the future.
Producing high quality milk from home-grown forage, the cows are averaging 8,000 litres at 3.5pc protein and almost four per cent butterfat.
Judges were impressed by a number of key investments include a new cow shed, calf housing, maize clamp, a feed shed and a parlour extension.
A new cheese factory is currently being built to facilitate increased production as the business joins a retail box scheme after recognising potential in the food delivery market.
Looking ahead, the farm’s 10-year plan includes another herd of dairy cows on another farm and the production of a second unique cheese.
The judges said: “Jonny and Dulcie are passionate and a progressive dairy farmers. They have strived to add value to their milk on their own terms and they are running a profitable and creative dairy farm business. Understanding their long term vision, the dynamic couple are a formidable force and are ones to continue to watch in the future.”
Mr Crickmore said: “We are lost for words. Innovation is key to our dairy farm business and we will continue to carry on and find new ways of working.
“My father always told me if you stand still you will just go backwards. There are times when dairy farmers have been through really tough times but you have to remain confident in yourself and believe you can do it”