Everytime I visit Brittany France it is obvious that French Dairy Farm families set a high business priority on "Earn More Work Less ". The farms we visited were very profitable yet they as families strove for a better 'life balance & quality time' with younger family members. Time with children was very important & often stated as a Business priority within minutes of being on the host farm. I was emotionally affected & it has left a lasting impression....something to think about!!
I'm not sure family has the same priority within British dairy farming families. Given that UK dairy farms are often family units this seems odd. As British farms have become bigger it seems people work harder & longer & time with family gets lost in the long hours. Not completely universal by any means but more the norm.
I think its mainly men who miss out. The greater family responsibilities fall on the women perhaps unfairly. The days when children are small pass so quickly.....don't miss out on these precious years.
Once a day milking is one option for reducing the work hours but maintaining or even increasing income earned. This takes careful management & time to achieve but is possible. We saw OAD milking both on farm & at the farmer driven research at Travarez.
France is not the only place this year where I have experienced a strong sense of family & community. Travelling through rural Australia we got a vivid impression of the priority given to family time & doing things together as a family. This appeared to translate to a strong community spirit where the small rural populace took responsiblity for their own community & it's wellbeing. The tougher the situation the more obvious was the spirit of working together & looking after each other. I think there's a link with family values & time with family.
Have we in the DairyfarmUK lost that strong sense of family? If we have then it's terribly serious.
Around the world dairy farm families are experiencing tough times. Farmers are protesting & standing shoulder to shoulder with their fellow farmers. Is that happening here? No. Do British farmers stand together????.......its not obvious!
As grass based dairy farmers we need to stick together, learn together & support each other.
United we stand Divided we fall.