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A group of Kintyre dairy farmers were getting ready to celebrate this week after almost reaching their crowdfunding target launched in a bid to help save Campbeltown Creamery, producers of the world-famous Mull of Kintyre cheddar.
At the time of going to press on Thursday (October 10), the farmers had raised 91 per cent (£45,613) of their £50,000 crowdfunder target.
Using the finest milk from the 29 farms in the area since 1923, the creamery has been making Mull of Kintyre cheddar since the 1970s and this week those modern, committed and family-owned outfits launched their bid, and an associated crowdfunding campaign, to buy the dairy and cheddar brand from current owner First Milk.
Dairy farmer Thomas Cameron said: ‘We are currently facing a huge and exciting opportunity with a clear mission – to secure the future of the Campbeltown Creamery for the benefit of the Kintyre community.’
Known as the Mull of Kintyre Milk Supply Co-operative, the group will fund the purchase through use of a levy from every litre of milk produced, in addition to external funding which is currently being sought.
A key element of the funding package is the crowdfunding campaign.
The bid came in response to First Milk’s announcement in 2018 of plans to sell the creamery as part of a move away from smaller-scale brands which created an opportunity for a farmer-led buy-out, aimed at saving the creamery and securing its future and the positive impact it has upon the area.
According to an economic impact survey carried out on behalf of Scottish Government body Highlands and Islands Enterprise in 2015, the dairy farming sector in the Kintyre Peninsula and nearby Gigha contributes £3.2million a year to the local economy. In turn, when additional contributions are considered, a further £2.55m is added. The dairy sector in the area provides 117 jobs directly on-farm and 49 indirectly across the region.
The Scotland Food and Drink Ambition 2030 and its focus on brand, market development, people, skills, supply chain and innovation also highlights the importance of strengthening reputation around provenance and responsible growth in local areas.
‘The multi-award-winning cheese is made with milk that all comes from within a 15-mile radius and from farms committed to securing their land for future generations and to contributing to the local economy,’ added Mr Cameron.
‘Dairy farms in the area need the creamery in order to thrive and the creamery needs us.
‘Given the challenges of sustaining a vibrant economy in this remote part of Scotland, the role of the dairy sector in Kintyre is fundamental to its success.
‘Mull of Kintyre cheddar is made to a long-established recipe and it is its provenance as well as taste which is sought by buyers, including those from Tesco and Sainsbury’s, from across the UK.
‘Our farmers are young, enthusiastic, committed to sustainability, investment and the next generation and have strong integrity – they are just the right group of people to secure this deal.’
NFU Scotland Milk Committee chairman John Smith, one of 29 producers supplying milk to the Campbeltown Creamery, described the move as ‘a bold and inspiring bid from producers in Kintyre’.
The group has produced a video which shows why it believes Campbeltown Creamery is so pivotal and why Mull of Kintyre cheddar is so important to Scotland. It is also encouraging the community, foodies, suppliers, customers, businesses and anyone with a love of cheese to contribute to the crowdfunding, further information for which can be found at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mokcheddar