New UK agri-food attachés 'walk the dairy supply chain'

25 January 2023

An image of the new agri-food attachés stood in front of a cow shed

The UK's eight new agri-food attachés were given a taste of life on farm in the dairy sector by the NFU as part of their induction programme before heading to their new posts around the world.

As part of the NFU’s ambition to grow UK agri-food exports by 30% to £33 billion by 2030, we have lobbied hard to secure eight new agri-food attachés to break down barriers to trade and develop networks in target markets. To help arm them with the knowledge and contacts to be able to thrive in their new roles, the NFU hosted a ‘walk the dairy supply chain’ event.

Hearing farm's export story

After battling train delays and a spontaneous bus combustion, the group headed to Lye Cross Farm to hear about its exporting story and the support it would value from the attachés.

They heard about trade to the farm's 40 export markets, and discussed the promotion work that AHDB does with in-country trade shows and export promotion events.

Following a good discussion on Lye Cross Farm’s sustainability credentials and the scope for organic and conventional exports, it was off for a tour of their cheese production facilities, talking through the cheese-making process and the value of the West Country Farmhouse Cheddar protected designation of origin (PDO) and other geographical indicators.

The group explored the cheese stores and learned how to identify a vintage from a mature cheddar, learning that cheese is best served at room temperature, and was then whisked off for a look at the Lye Cross rotary parlour and a discussion on how once-a-day milking can result in higher fat content, making milk perfect for cheese production.

Learning more about milk

Then it was on to Philip Durbin’s for a look at his Bickfield herd of Guernsey cows. The group covered everything from forage to types of milking parlours, and why Guernsey milk is the best for barista coffee given its fat content.

The attachés toured the farm's new milking parlour and experienced the cows going through milking. They then all turned their hands to farming, getting stuck in with the milking and putting the clusters on the cows, with only a slight mishap which served as a timely reminder of why people wear waterproofs in the parlour!

They then tasted the fruits of their labour, noting how much creamier milk straight out of the bulk tank tastes compared to that from a supermarket.

The attachés all had an excellent experience which will serve them well when in post. The NFU is committed to supporting them in their roles to ensure that they have the best tools to boost British agri-food exports in line with the NFU’s 30, 30, 30+ export strategy.

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