Farming can be hard – competing not only with the elements but in an increasingly global and hi-tech industry too.
The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative (OMSCo) was established in 1994 by five like-minded farmers who knew they were better off working together. Today the successful co-op is a 100% organic, farmer run, farmer owned, dairy co-operative with 270 members and a turnover of £100m.
"The more money the business produces the more money the farmers get, so it’s a 100 per cent return on your time, effort and investment in the business." Lyndon Edwards, farmer owner, OMSCo
OMSCo manages 65 per cent of the UK’s organic milk, and is the largest organic dairy supplier in the UK, the largest dedicated organic dairy co-operative in Europe, and the second largest dedicated organic milk co-operative in the world.
Due to its exports, the Somerset-based co-op continues to grow despite a relatively static UK market. Its organic accreditation in the US and China mean that exports now accounts for 20 per cent of the co-ops revenue, a fact that pays dividends to the farmer members.
"A co-op is a good way of doing business” says Lyndon Edwards, a farmer owner of OMSCo, who farms 250 organic dairy cows on his family farm near Chepstow. “We’re all working together and everybody shares the benefits. The more money the business produces the more money the farmers get, so it’s a 100 per cent return on your time, effort and investment in the business."
"All farmers, whether organic or conventional, have a problem making ends meet sometimes – and it’s a product of supply and demand in the market. What we gain from being in the co-op is that we have found other markets for milk."
Share your story of co-operation or read others by using #coopstories on social media.