AGM - 23 April 2020 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AGM was held online. 

You can view the AGM below:

COVID-19 Support 

If you are experiencing any issues as a result of COVID-19, please get in touch and we will do all we can to help. 

Below is our recent letter to George Eustice, NFU and RABDF. It is important than goats are included for any compensation for milk dumped during the Covid-19 emergency. We have received positive responses from the NFU and RABDF, and we would encourage any affected members to complete the RABDF survey at https://www.rabdf.co.uk/survey

I am writing on behalf of the Milking Goat Association which is the body representing UK commercial goat farmers. Most of our members are milk producers but many also produce goat meat. Both the dairy goat and meat sectors have been impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak due to the loss of the food service and hospitality markets. The worst hit MGA members are those that supply only the food service sectors. Many of these members either make their own artisan cheeses supplied to the hospitality sector or supply dairy’s that do so. These businesses have been hit very hard with some of them having to throw all their milk away.

Like all livestock businesses they still have to feed and care for their animals every day regardless leaving them with bills to pay and no revenue. Clearly unless something is done to help they will rapidly go out of business. As we are a small and specialist industry there would be no rapid recovery as the goats and farmers with their specialist skills would be lost.

I note from your organisations news briefings that you have put together a bailout package to help dairy farmers affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. I would urge you to ensure that the UK dairy goat sector is covered by this package.

I would like to clarify three points of difference to the dairy cow industry

Firstly we have a “considerably higher cost base”

Secondly this results in a “higher price paid for goat’s milk”

Thirdly the dairy goat sector would need “55p per litre for raw goat’s milk” by means of compensation rather than the 25p put forward for the dairy cow sector.

Yours faithfully
Philip Ormerod
Press secretary MGA

Goat Kids for Sale

Approx. 100 well grown kids for sale.  Due to kid in March surplus to herd requirements. Will be 13-14 months old at kidding. Will all be scanned to confirm pregnant prior to sale. 

Contact Pete Kelly for more details, pete@kellyfarmconsulting.com or 07970 942668

Board Meeting Update - 25 Nov 2019

Thanks  were expressed to Tereza Fairbairn (who has stood down since the last meeting due to other commitments) for the work she has put into the MGA over the last 2 years.

Will Frost wanted to note that he would be standing down as Chairman at the next AGM. Charlie Whitehouse suggested as successor.

It is hoped that some of the more Northern producers could be encouraged onto the board, to improve the geographical spread of participants!

Sam Kelly, as Treasurer, reported the organisation to have a healthy reserve, primarily due to the fantastic level of Sponsorship achieved this year.  

 

Unfortunately, the ongoing Bristol Uni project has had to be put on hold, so it was decided that the end date should be extended to enable it to continue.

 

In the meantime, Will Frost stressed the need to think about further research topics that could be undertaken. One idea was looking into breeding (being of major importance to the industry in order to move forward genetically and improve herds). Another topic suggestion was regarding Cell Counts and how these can be used to detect underlying problems.

 

Any students wanting to do PhDs should be encouraged!

 

It was stressed that research findings need to be communicated back to levy contributors.

 

With some confusion over levies and membership, it was decided that there will be no membership fee for levy payers. Full members will pay the levy based on the litres they produce. This will be collected via the milk buyer for most, but some will need to pay directly. Bandings for levy charges for these members are being worked out. There will be no other FULL membership fees. Non producers will still be asked to pay the ASSOCIATE membership rate, which is to remain at £75.

 

A discussion was held about whether to have another Open Day. As Sam Kelly said, this was a very successful day financially and also thoroughly enjoyed by all. The GVS are planning a farm visit on the day before their conference on 11th June 2020 at Taunton Racecourse and reducing their meetings in this way to one and a half per year. The Dairy Sheep and Goat Conference (27/28th January 2020) is another big event which offers Workshops alongside, so the difficulty for the MGA is whether there is an appetite for another. Planned roadshows on hold until Bristol Uni research restarts. One suggestion was to make more of the AGM (23rd April 2020) with sponsorship for small scale advertising at larger venue such as Hartpury College with guest speakers to make it more of an event.

 

Kathleen Weilkoposka has put herself forward to be MGA representative involved with the formation of a new organisation – The Goat Health and Welfare Group. (GHAWG) This group is the brainchild of the GVS with the intention of setting up a body to represent as many parts of the goat sector as possible.

 

During discussions it came to light that some members have been approached by government officials wanting to come on farm and discuss certain practises. Members should be aware that extreme caution should be taken over any visitors to the farm. Identification is very important.

 

KIWA has made changes to the Farm Assurance schedule that goat farmers are required to adhere to in order to get goat standards up to the same as expected for the Red Tractor Dairy scheme. Recent additions include Johnes policy/Condition Scoring/Locomotion Scoring and Environmental Enrichment. Concern was expressed within the board that there was no consultation prior to the introduction of the new requirements. The general feeling was also that those new stipulations have been very much driven by trying to align the caprine with the bovine scheme with no consideration for species specifics. There are no objections to making improvements and being a part of the Red Tractor scheme, as long as the goat industry can have a say and irrelevances re goats don’t creep in. (It has been noticed that dairy goats and Boer meat goats have all been shoved within the same set of photos – totally unacceptable). Dissatisfaction to be expressed to KIWA.

The board also wanted to congratulate Will Frost for his amazing achievement in becoming DAIRY FARMER of the YEAR at the recent Farmers Weekly Awards!  Gary Yeomans , also to be congratulated for being a very worthy runner-up, and what an accolade for the Dairy Goat Industry!    

2019 Open Day round-up!

12th September 2019 saw the third annual Open Day of the MGA

To all of you who came to the Open day, I'm sure you will agree that it was a very enjoyable day!!

 

We were very priviledged to have so many sponsors and were delighted with the number of attendees. Kindly hosted by the Frost family, the farming set up at Forde Grange Farm is second to none. We we were all treated to various speakers and tours during the day as well as tasting goat meat!

 

The day started with a talk by Rene Van De Gevel from ForFarmers on their approach to feeding goats,  Pete Kelly took visitors round the farm to talk about the management, production and nutrition of the dairy herd, Kathy Azuino showed everyone round the kid rearing section and talked about current ongoing associated research, and Will Frost and staff transported guests to show us where all the baby kids are reared and breeding bucks are kept.

 

At lunchtime Cabrito provided a delicious piece of freshly cooked goat for all to try.

 

It really was a memorable day! We hope that everyone who came got something out of it. It was fantastic to see so much support for the MGA and we can't thank everyone enough for all the various contributions!

Many thanks again for all your continued support!

 

Clare Nichols (MGA Secretary)

27-28 January 2020

Dairy Sheep and Goat Conference 2020


The fifth annual conference aiming to inform and lead the development of small ruminant dairying in the UK. This event is aimed at producers, processors, vets and all industry suppliers.


Featuring an exciting line up of national and international speakers, this two day event is a forum for the exchange of information and ideas for all those involved in the growing field of sheep and goat milk production.

Please note this event is not organised by the MGA, tickets can be purchased at: www.dsgc2020.co.uk

Our Open Letter to the Minister regarding no deal Brexit 

Open day and Goat Sale Thursday 24th January 2019

TREHENDRA BOYTON LAUNCESTON CORNWALL PL15 9RN

Sat Nav PL15 9RN

Contact: Raymond Gillbard 077 172 95 614

This herd of goats is for sale due to the contract being stopped. 

For full details, please click here 

 

Second Annual Open Day Announced

The second annual Open Day will be held on 26th September 2018 by kind permission of Phil Ormerod. 

Please see the open day page for further details

Notice of Annual General Meeting 

The Annual General Meeting of the Milking Goat Association will be held on Tuesday 24th April at 1 pm at The Huntsman Inn, Bristol Road, Falfield, Wotton-under-Edge GL12 8DF.  All members are welcome to attend, but please book with the office in advance so that we know numbers.  office@milkinggoat.org.uk 

GVS Member rates for MGA members at GVS meetings in 2018

The Goat Veterinary Society have kindly offered all MGA members registration at their 2018 meetings at the GVS member price.

 

If you wish to take advantage of this, please complete the online GVS meeting registration form (available on the website before the meetings), and simply tick/pay the GVS member fee for attendance.

Statement regarding the recent giving of notice terminating Contracts to Goat Milk suppliers by Arla and Abergavenny Fine Foods (16 Jan 2018)

The Milking Goat Association wishes to make the following statement relating to the notice of contract termination given to all of Arla’s goats’ milk suppliers last week, and that of Abergavenny Fine Foods given to some of its goats’ milk suppliers as of yesterday:

 

This is absolutely devastating news for all the goats milk suppliers affected by these two actions taken by goats milk processors, and the MGA’s first and foremost wish is to pass on our Directors thoughts to these farmers, who now find themselves in the unenviable position of taking very difficult management decisions, in order to respond to the forthcoming loss of their milk buyer.

 

The Milking Goat Association, formed in early 2017, has this year encouraged suppliers to engage evermore with their milk buyers in order to address supply demands and possible oversupply. However it is evident from the action of Arla and Abergavenny Fine Foods, that oversupply continues to be cause for serious threat to our industry.

 

The Milking Goat Association wishes to repeat its plea to encourage existing goats’ milk suppliers to engage closely with their milk buyers, to find out what the buyers want. This is as much about volume, as it is about milk profiling across the year, solids and protein content targets and so on.

 

To the milk buyers, the Milking Goat Association requests that they work much closer to their milk suppliers, and help them more to meet future supply requirements, without risking over supply.

 

Those considering entering the goats’ milk supply market need to be very mindful of this current oversupply situation, and think very carefully before diversifying and investing at this difficult time.

 

As an industry we must learn from this situation now, and take the lead in self regulation of our production levels.

 

END.

TB Compensation Breakthrough!!

I am very pleased to confirm that the new statutory TB compensation arrangements for non-bovines will come into force on 2nd January 2018.

 

The values payable will be as follows: 

 

1 year old or younger                         £80

Non-breeding, over 1 year old          £160

Breeding female, over 1 year old      £250

Stud male, over 1 year old                 £350

If you are interested, a link to the new non-bovine slaughter and compensation Order can be found here; http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/1254/introduction/made 

This is fantastic news for the industry and will save a lot of worry for many of you.  Many thanks to Liz Sutton and all at the PTF who have worked so hard to push this through.  

2018 Membership - Early Bird Special 

Membership for 2017 was free of charge thanks to sponsorship from Kelly Farm Consulting.  

Membership for 2018 is £75 per business but....

Sign up before 31 December 2017 for the special price of £50 - SAVE £25!!

To sign up for 2018 membership please click here.  

Milking Goat Association Open Day 28 September 2017

The first open day of the association was held at Shepton Mallett on 28 September 2017.  The day was very well attended with over 100 farmers and 30 trade stands.  

Presentations were given by Will Frost, SRUC, Friars Moor Vets, Cabrito, and Roger Longman.  Copies of the presentations can be requested by members by emailing office@milkinggoat.org.uk.  Three farm tours were provided, with thanks to Whitelake Cheese, Roger Longman, and Kelly Farm Consulting.  An AI and foot trimming demonstration also took place throughout the day with thanks to Tyndale Vets.  

A huge thank you to all our speakers, sponsors and most of all to the members that came along and supported the day.  

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Announcement: June 2017

The Milking Goat Association has been formed to represent commercial goats’ milk producers in the UK. 

“The formation of the MGA gives goat producers throughout the British goat industry a fantastic opportunity to be represented as one,” says Will Frost, the recently appointed Chairman of the Milking Goat Association (the MGA).  “We have seen increased demand for a whole range of dairy goat products throughout the United Kingdom with some superb new ranges of cheese, yogurts and liquid milk brands coming onto the shelves over the last 20 years. Producers are positive about the industry and there is huge opportunity, through the MGA, for goat keepers to improve efficiency, herd monitoring and knowledge of goat farming.  It also gives goat keepers one voice and aims to represent the industry at Government level, so we can keep our wonderful industry moving forward in the right direction.”

 

The main roles of the association:

 

To bring together research and development from farm level and academic researchers, to distribute it to the wider industry to increase productivity and sustainability of the overall industry;

 

To provide an associated body to take issues to Government and the wider industry, such as livestock health status and awareness of the industry;

 

Work with industry wide representatives to promote the nutritive value of goats’ milk, cheese and meat to ensure long term sustainability;

 

Carry out farmer led meetings including discussion groups, both to disseminate farm-level and academic research findings, and to identify any areas in which further research is required;

 

Further develop links with goat farmers and academics throughout Europe and worldwide, with the aim of delivering best practice to the UK industry through overseas study tours and visiting speakers;

 

Work with industry representatives to ensure any required research is carried out.

 

“The Association is open to all commercial goat farmers large or small, who are all very much encouraged to become members.  Associate members, through trade suppliers, are also very welcome.” Will Frost, Chairman of the MGA.

Goats milk production:

 

Goat milk production has changed dramatically in the last 10 years and the industry is continually looking ahead at significant development in areas such as AI and genomics, disease control and reducing mortality, and kid rearing protocols.  A wide range of industry stakeholders have suggested that an Association is needed to pull operators together, and enhance national productivity and sustainability of the industry.  

 

The UK dairy goat industry is made up of 40-45 thousand goats producing just less than 34 million litres of milk commercially. This compares to a UK dairy herd of 1.9 million cows producing just less than 15 billion litres of cows’ milk (2014/5).

 

Though significant, goat dairy remains a specialist market with goat milk representing less than 0.2% of the volume of cows’ milk produced in the UK. Goat cheese (UK and imported) is now in the top 10 cheeses consumed in the UK. Goats’ milk produced in the UK is primarily sold as butter, cheese and yogurt.

 

Further information on the Milking Goat Association can be found on www.milkinggoat.org.uk

Inaugural meeting a huge sucess!

Wednesday 22nd March saw the inaugrual meeting of the Milking Goat Association.  The meeting was very well attended, and it fantastic to see so much enthusiasm for the association in the room!  Full minutes of the meeting will be circulated to all members shortly by email.  

The meeting saw the election of the board as follows: 

Chair & Delamere Representative

Vice Chair & Walker Farmer Representative

Treasurer & Walker Farmer Representative

Secretary & Independent Non Farm Representative

Media/PR Rep

St Helens Farmer Representative 

Lactalis Farmer Representative

Arla Farmer Representative

Abergavenny Farmer Representative

Independent Farmer Representative

Will Frost

Charlie Whitehouse

Helen Wallis

Sam Kelly

Gill Ainge

David Alvis

Andrew Perry

Lucy Wastenage

Gary Yeomans

Roger Longman

First meeting of the association to be held on 22 March 17

The first meeting of the Milking Goat Association will be held on Wednesday 22nd March from 9.30 am.  The venue is to be confirmed but will be in the Gloucester area as this is most central for the membership. 

 

As you will be aware, the main buyers of goats milk have agreed to fund a research student at Bristol University.  Your milk buyer will hopefully have already liaised with you on this and each milk buyer is dealing with it differently, with some levying a charge on your milk.  These funds will be held centrally by the Milking Goat Association and paid across to Bristol University periodically.   The direction of this research must be guided by the farmers, and the association must present their conclusions for recommendations on research areas to Bristol University by the end of March.  Therefore, please make every effort to attend this meeting and have your say on how you would like the research funding spent.

 

We would also like to use this meeting to discuss the ways in which the Milking Goat Association can start working for the industry now, and the future direction it needs to take.

 

At this initial meeting, we intend to vote in the farmer board (in the roles of Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer & Secretary). 

 

It is proposed that only farmers will have a vote in future decisions of the Milking Goat Association, which will ensure that it is truly a farmer ran association.  This will be put to a vote of the entire membership at this meeting.

 

To book, please email office@milkinggoat.org.uk with the number of places you would like to book BY FRIDAY 10TH MARCH

 

Finally, there are a number of dairy goat farmers which are not yet signed up to the Association… please share this email me with all of your contacts in the goat world and encourage as many as possible to sign up!

 

I look forward to seeing you on 22nd March. 

Milking Goat Association Limited.  Registered in England & Wales No. 10043065

The Milking Goat Association is a not-for-profit organisation