Regenerative dairy: It’s time to realise the power of the grass beneath our feet

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Organic dairy farmer and change maker Bryce Cunningham says it’s time to recognise the regenerative potential of pasture-raised dairy 

“As COP26 gets underway, it seems plant based companies and the media have gone into overdrive to tell us how much better for the environment their products are. 

On the other side, we’ve had numerous conversation with livestock farmers mentioning how fed up they are being blamed for climate change and made out as villains. 

So here’s a thought. Let’s say Boris and friends get their way, importing more and more food to drive UK farmers off the land and encourage rewilding and ‘alternative protein’ production – does that not mean that the emissions we were producing here simply become exported, since we’d still need food but now it arrives on boats and planes?

Talking of biodiversity, plant based alternatives to milk are grown in massive areas of single plant species; or ‘mono-cropped’ as it’s known, with little to no biodiversity in these areas

And then, what if… what if our crazy vision of being carbon negative by 2030 comes true and the research we do shows that for every litre of Mossgiel produced it is less damaging on the environment than its alternative?

What if because of this we can produce milk at a lower cost for the shop shelf but pay the farmers a truly fair price? What if we proved that this superfood, full of all the essential amino acids could be produced in a way that creates sustainable jobs, supporting community causes and driving our economy?

“Dairy can rely heavily on natural grass production in a regenerative way – and we’re going to prove it”

Then, what if we get to 2030 and the farmers have gotten fed up being  blamed, and just left farming – with our country unable to grow enough crops due to the landscape (only being able to support them in 13% of Scotland but the rest suitable for grazing)? 

What if there was no one left to talk to about what our research has shown?

What if, the true cost of biodiversity loss in mono-crops is discovered after the damage is done to Scottish dairy and it’s too late to realise the power we already have in the grass under our feet?

Dairy can rely heavily on natural grass production in a regenerative way – and we’re going to prove it.”

This article originally appeared as a LinkedIn post. Bryce Cunningham is the owner of pioneering Scottish organic producer Mossgiel. Main image, courtesy of Mossgiel.

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