FrieslandCampina commits itself to promoting milk from pasture-fed cows

23 September 2011

The international dairy company FrieslandCampina plans to earmark 45 million euros a year to encourage outdoor grazing for its dairy herds. Under the new scheme, member dairy farmers of the FrieslandCampina dairy cooperative who use outdoor grazing will qualify for a pasture milk supplement of 50 cents per 100 kilos of milk. In future, FrieslandCampina will market more dairy products based on Dutch milk from pasture-grazed cows. The initiative will form part of the dairy company’s sustainability agenda. The annual incentive of 45 million euros will cover at least the period from 2012 to 2014 inclusive.

In 2012, FrieslandCampina plans to launch a scheme to pay member dairy farmers who graze their herds outdoors for at least six hours a day, 120 days a year a supplement of 50 cents per 100 kilos of milk. Currently, member dairy farmers who pasture-graze their herds receive 5 cents per 100 kilos of milk. For a dairy farm producing 600,000 kilos of milk a year, this will increase the annual supplement for milk from pasture-fed cows from 300 euros to 3,000 euros. The increased supplement is chiefly intended to compensate farmers for the time and extra work they have to invest in grazing their cows outdoors.

FrieslandCampina will be further extending its range of Dutch dairy products with a pasture milk guarantee. This will enable customers and consumers to make a well-informed choice which fits in well with their demand for more sustainably-produced food. FrieslandCampina has been marketing pasture-fed milk since 2007. This includes daily fresh dairy products under the Campina and Campina Boerenland (organic dairy) labels. The company has specific plans to extend its range of pasture-based dairy by 2012, for example to cheese (e.g. Milner) and dairy-based beverages such as Optimel, Vifit and Goedemorgen. Supermarkets and other retail customers will also be given the opportunity to sell dairy products with a pasture milk guarantee under their own brands.

The increase in the outdoor grazing supplement and the extra costs involved in the separate collection and processing of pasture-fed milk means that FrieslandCampina will be charging a higher price for products with a pasture-fed milk guarantee. By choosing these products, consumers will help to keep dairy herds in the Dutch landscape, a classic image of Holland which is highly valued by the public.

Research by the market research agency TNS NIPO has found that 75% of Dutch consumers feel outdoor grazing is a vital part of sustainable dairy farming. When asked why they thought cows should be fed outdoors during the pasture-grazing season, 93% responded that it was healthier for them.

Royal FrieslandCampina CEO Cees ’t Hart: ‘This incentive scheme will form part of FrieslandCampina’s broad sustainability agenda. It is our response to the considerable demand among Dutch consumers to preserve our typical Dutch landscape with cows grazing
on green pastures. Supermarkets are also showing a growing interest in maintaining outdoor grazing. It’s now up to us, our members, our customers and ultimately the consumer, to turn this initiative into a success.’

In addition to outdoor grazing, the other themes in FrieslandCampina’s programme for sustainable dairy farming are: energy & climate, reuse of minerals, maintaining nature & biodiversity, animal health & welfare. The sustainability programme for the dairy sector forms part of FrieslandCampina’s route2020 strategy.