Farm groups have praised Channel 5 for its ‘excellent’ depiction of the UK dairy industry, after the broadcaster took an accurate look behind the scenes of a dairy farm.
The programme, ‘Secrets of your supermarket food: dairy’ (March 23), examined the inner workings of a dairy farm to showcase how ‘high quality dairy products’ are produced and supplied in line with the country’s huge demand for milk.
NFU Scotland (NFUS) milk chairman Gary Mitchell claimed the documentary stood in stark contrast to previous documentaries by other broadcasters, which had escalated media aggression towards the farming industry.
He said: “It was extremely heartening to see a factual, even handed documentary, which highlighted many health benefits to the public and the high welfare standards we dairy farmers are held to in order to produce it.”
The programme demonstrated the innovative technology and specialised feed utilised by farmers to ensure the physical well being of a dairy herd.
Peter Alvis, chairman of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) echoed this and claimed the documentary was a ‘breathe of fresh air’, which accurately showcased the production of dairy from farm to fork.
North Wales dairy farmer and Farmers Guardian columnist Abi Reader, who featured in the programme’s on-farm visit, claimed it was ‘refreshing’ to see unbiased reporting by the media, which had helped to debunk common myths surrounding milk production.
Highlighting the current issues surrounding supply chain unfairness, Mr Mitchell added: “The programme also depicted the significant disparity between what dairy farmers are paid compared to what supermarkets make for milk and dairy products.”
Ms Reader reinforced this, saying: “The powers of supermarkets is indeed worrying, if we are asking the supermarket to pay more, then so would the consumer and so the majority of us struggle to make a profit from such tight margins.”
She added the programme had therefore cast an incredibly ‘useful light’ on the realities of the UK dairy farming industry.
Mr Alvis said: “Abi Reader so eloquently explained how her £30,000 subsidy was the only profit her farm made which had to support three wages and after working a 14 hour shift.
“It is great to see this documentary support British dairy farmers therefore and we applaud Channel 5 for that.”