One of Josh's Jersey cows

 

Farmers across Monmouthshire and the Marches are reviving the old tradition of selling directly to the public. Read on to learn about one Monmouthshire dairy farmer who is making a splash with his delicious milk.

Josh Morgan grew up on a fourth-generation family farm. He was encouraged by his parents to live a life away from farming, but after spending his 20s working in construction and renovation, he returned to the farm to settle with his own young family. He now pours himself into his milk production business, seeking a good quality of life for his cows and his family.

Josh’s cows are Jersey cows. They’re smaller and lighter on their feet than the black-and-white Friesian cows we see so often in the fields. They produce less milk than larger cows, but their milk has a higher butter-fat content, giving it a rich, creamy taste. The cows calve every year from two years of age and can live up to fifteen years. They get a break from milking between December and January.

A while ago, Josh made the decision to sell his cows’ milk via vending machines after seeing the idea take-off in Pembrokeshire. His was the first milk vending business in Monmouthshire. He explains:

“On a milk contract it’s 37p per litre, but with a vending machine my milk price is £1.70 a litre. I like the fact I can say how much it’s worth. It’s having a bit of control. I’m not shifting away from my milk contract completely, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Facing rising energy and animal feed costs, Josh felt he had to do something to improve his family’s financial situation. He didn’t want to do that by increasing his milk yield, which would have an impact on his cows and potentially the quality of the milk. Instead, he decided to find a way to charge a fair price for his product.

“With most things, if your costs go up you put your prices up. But most farmers are tied into a contract. They have no control over price. A lot of farmers have had to work around this by selling direct.”

There is a different set of skills required of a farmer who is moving into direct sales. Josh isn’t phased by the challenges involved with this and is enjoying working with the feedback he gets from customers to perfect his milk-to-fat ratio.

You might see Josh driving by with his jerseys’ cool, creamy milk on his way to fill up his vending machines, the face of one of his cows on the side of the trailer. Flag him down when you see him on his rounds and let him know what you think of his milk. Or follow Josh’s Jerseys on Instagram.