Richard & Claire Barber, Manor Farm, Garstang, Lancashire
Three miles outside of Garstang, in the heart of Lancashire’s rich dairy country, Claire and Richard Barber milk Holsteins known as the Highhopes Herd. Dairy farming has been tough – having built up the herd on a family farm in Northumberland, they were hit by foot and mouth, had to take other jobs and have been farming again for just 6 years. “Farming is a bit like having kids – nobody tells you how hard it’s going to be,” says Claire, who describes teenage children Billy and Anna as good help with the animals. “We have high hopes for all the girls (cows) and we do this job for the love of it, being paid the market leading price allows us to do this with no compromises.”
Being part of the Booths Milk group has been a huge boost for the Barbers. “It’s secured our future, the kids’ futures, investment, moving forward, cow health and well-being; the effect is amazing” says Claire. “And we’re a family business focussing on quality, so we’ve got a lot of similar values to Booths.”
Unlike many of their neighbours, Claire and Richard aren’t Lancashire born and bred, and came to the county only when their farm, on the Fitzherbert-Brockholes estate, became available. So how do they like it? “Well, no two days are the same, the grass is green, the kids are growing, the dogs are happy, the cows are happy, I haven’t got two hours travelling to work, and it’s been a brilliant place to bring up children – and cows!”
Q: How is the milk is processed?
A: The milk in our cartons is purchased from Muller Wiseman who collects, pasteurises and bottles the milk from their site in Trafford. Our nominated farmers for our milk supply to this site. The milk is consolidated into bulk tanks at Muller Wisemans with other farmers’ milk, this is then bottled into our Booths British Milk containers.
Q: Why is the milk from the farms not separated?
A: If we were to segregate the milk, this would result in increased Co2 emissions and increased production costs, thus eliminating the ability to pay a great
price to farmers without increasing retail prices for the customer. Distribution from just this specific group of farmers would not only be cost prohibitive but not environmentally sound. The fluctuations in demand and supply throughout the seasons are complex and this system enables Booths to guarantee that our farmers can receive the highest price and maintain availability.
For every litre sold in a Booths store over another supermarket, the farmer receives a higher price.